Tony Scott with The Tony Scott South African Quartet and The Alexandra Dead End Kids - Tony Scott in South Africa
Cover
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LINER NOTES

 

Tony Scott, acknowledged in 1957 by the jazz critics and public alike as the world's greatest jazz clarinetist, had been away from America for eight months when he finally reached Johannesburg in August 1957. By then he had played his way round most of Europe (including France, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Italy and Yugoslavia) but his abundant energy was unimpaired and within two hours of arriving he was playing with South African musicians and astonishing them by his vitality and enthusiasm. His tour of the Union was organised by the Witwatersrand University Jazz Appreciation Society and took him to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. When he left for home after two very strenuous weeks, he had played every night to wildly enthusiastic audiences of all races. On his last night in South Africa he played right through the night and only just made the airport in time, but he arrived at Jan Smuts (followed by a band of supporters and musicians who had seen the night through) laden with packages, passport and ticket temporarily mislaid, still talking volubly and displaying no evident signs of exhaustion. He must surely be the most indefatigable musician ever to have visited South Africa.

One afternoon he dropped in at the RCA Recording studios at Johannesburg while an African recording session was in progress. Four small boys, known as the Alexandra Dead End Kids, were playing a popular Marabi dance tune on penny whistles. Tony listened for a bit and within a few moments he was in the studio, unpacking his clarinet. He seemed just as familiar with the African idiom as the European one and he was soon joining in as though he had been playing African tunes all his life. The tape machine was running and the result can be heard on Side One of this record, recorded without any rehearsal, preparation or premeditation. A further cut was made of "Ou-Dhladhla"—the biggest African hit of 1957. By this time the word had got round town that Tony Scott was playing with penny whistles and within about half an hour most of the African population of the city seemed to have arrived at the studio. Disregarding protests from the recording and repertoire staff they invaded the studio (among them many photographers) and started joining in, singing and clapping. The tape machine was still running but it was impossible from the Control room to see what was going on or which microphone was which. If the result was, to say the least of it, unbalanced (and, let it be confessed, something of a shambles) it was felt to be sufficiently interesting to reproduce on the record and it can be heard on Band 3 of Side Two. Also included here is a duet between penny whistle and clarinet, "Ben's Bounce" —recorded at Tony's suggestion. After the recording the soloist, Benjamin Masindi, made Tony Scott a present of his penny whistle and this Tony would produce on the platform at his concerts and blow it with great gusto, much to the delight of his audience.

The remaining cuts on this disc were recorded at one of Tony Scott's African concerts, among them the haunting "Moonlight in Vermont" and two numbers in which he is heard playing Baritone Saxophone. In "My Friend Dave"—a conversation piece between Bass Clarinet and String Bass—Tony features as a Scat singer. These improvisations, as well as his introductions, have been left on the disc for they recapture something of the spirit of the concerts. Although he is a superb pianist it was unfortunately not possible to get a piano recording from him while he was in South Africa ("It's not my instrument," he says modestly), but this disc reveals something of his versatility. He hopes to return to Africa before too long and next time wants to record with Chopi xylophones, Tswa Tumblers and Zulu War Dancers (whom he heard at the mines). This should prove to be a unique item for record collectors if, and when it is recorded!

Tony Scott with The Tony Scott South African Quartet and The Alexandra Dead End Kids
Recorded in South Africa
Pressed by Teal Record Company, P.O. Box 4105, Johannesburg, as Licensee of Radio Corporation of America
 

TONY SCOTT WITH THE TONY SCOTT SOUTH AFRICAN QUARTET AND THE ALEXANDRA DEAD END KIDS
TONY SCOTT IN SOUTH AFRICA


recorded 1957-08
issued 1957
RCA
Teal
made in South Africa
31104
matrix 8HPP-156
matrix 8HPP-157
33 rpm
first issue
cover printed by Swan Press Limited
source: flatinternational Archive

TRACK LISTING

 

1.1Mangamanga

(Shakes Molepo)

1.2Jumping with Symphony Sid

(Lester Young)

1.3Ben's Bounce

(Benjamin Masindi)

1.4Moonlight in Vermont

(Suessdorf, Blackburn)

2.5Ou-Dhladhla

(traditional)

2.6My Friend Dave

(Tony Scott)

2.7Woza Ekhaya

(Shakes Molepo)

2.8Things Ain't What They Used To Be

(Duke Ellington)

ARTISTS

 

TONY SCOTT - clarinet, baritone saxophone
THE ALEXANDRA DEAD END KIDS
SHAKES MOLEPO - pennywhistle
BENJAMIN MASINDI - pennywhistle
JOSEPH MAHLATSI - pennywhistle
SOPHONIA NAMINI - pennywhistle
THE TONY SCOTT SOUTH AFRICAN QUARTET
NOEL STOCKTON - piano
BOB HILL - bass
ALAN HEYES - drums

NOTES

 

According to Garth Jowett in Metronome, Tony Scott became the first American jazz musician to tour South African when he arrived in August of 1957. (www.tonyscott.it) Most notably, according to Drum magazine he "refused to play only for whites" and subsequently became the first artist to play before multi-racial, integrated audiences in South Africa. The audience in these recordings is amazingly palpable. This is a great album!

For more information on Scott's visit to South Africa check out the website The Musical Universe of Tony Scott.