Farewell Hugh Masekela


In all the years since I launched Jazz&Jazz I have rarely been taken aback quite as much as by the BBC news announcement this evening reporting the death of South African jazz musician Hugh Masekela.

In these years I have been hugely privileged to cross paths with an amazing number of jazz greats, many reported in features on this site. Hugh Masekela was paramount amongst them. The occasion – a concert at the Royal Festival Hall during the 2010 London Jazz Festival.

In tribute to the great man here is the acrylic portrait I painted of him playing on flugelhorn at the concert along with my poem and extracts from my earlier feature.

The Coal Train
Hugh Masekela,
South African of valour,
Condemns the Coal Train
With resonant rancour.

The number? A powerfully emotive performance of his anti-repression composition  “The Coal Train”, described as “a rousing expression of resistance and celebration of the human spirit”.
It received huge acclaim and was the inspiration for my portrait and this poem.
Thank you, Hugh Masekela!


Peter M Butler
Editor & Proprietor Jazz&Jazz

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