Jazz legend Hugh Masekela dies

Hugh Masekela and Oscar

Trumpet player and singer Hugh Masekela honed his distinctive Afro-jazz sound across a career that spanned more than six decades.

Masekela's 1986 "Bring Him Back Home" song, written for Nelson Mandela, became an anthem of the 1980s anti-apartheid movement. Do not cut, copy or lift any content from this website without our consent. Between 1964-1966, Masekela was married to singer, actress and activist Miriam Makeba (1932-2008), one of the most important figures fighting the white-ruled apartheid regime outside South Africa.

Masekela who was given his first trumpet when he was 14 used his "Soweto Blues" to confront apartheid.

- Jidenna (@Jidenna) January 23, 2018Hugh Masekela taught me more about South African culture and politics than anyone I ever met. Hugh was largely raised by his grandmother who ran an illegal bar for miners.

With the Sharpeville massacre in mind and with jazz being seen as an expression of resistance, performances and broadcasts in South Africa were severely restricted.

THE University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) says it is saddened, following the news of the passing of world-renowned music legend and political struggle icon Dr Hugh Masekela.

In 1968 he released his seminal instrumental single Grazin' in the Grass, which reached the number one spot on the American pop charts and was a worldwide hit, launching him on the global stage. He would go on to become one of the world's leading jazz musicians. As an upcoming jazz trumpeter, he joined up with fellow South African jazzman Abdullah Ibrahim (known as Dollar Brand up until 1968) to play on Brands first album, “Jazz Epistle Verse 1” released in 1960.

He was part of the jazz cool set that included Miles Davis, Harry Belafonte, Fela Kuti, Marvin Gaye, Herb Alpert, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder.

Masekela performed at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 - a performance that was referenced when Eric Burdon sang the line, "Hugh Masekela's music was black as night", in the Animals hit "Monterey" later that year.

Indeed, embracing his fierce commitment to an African-rooted consciousness is one of the ways the continent's creative community can honour this remarkable individual, who never wasted a chance to speak against injustices wherever he saw them.

HAPPY TIMES: Hugh Masekela on a visit to his old school - St Martin's - with his son, Sal Masekela (front far left), who now lives in the United States, in 2010.

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