DEE DEE McNEIL: MUSICAL MEMOIRS
Morris Goldberg, saxophone/pennywhistle/composer; Anton Fig, drums; Bakithi Kumalo & Chulo Gatewood, bass; Tony Cedras & Richard Cummings, keyboards; Cyro Baptista, percussion; John Guth & Dan Carillo, guitar; Kofo, talking drum; Chris Botti & Diego Urcola, trumpet; Cecilia Tenconi, tenor saxophone.
From the first strains of a song called “Station Road Strut” I felt that I was in South Africa. This music oozes the joy and happy spirit of the South African people. When I picked up the press information on this group, the first sentence I read was:
“Saxophonist, penny whistle master and composer Morris Goldberg is perhaps best known for his association with Hugh Masekela.”
That explained it. I was completely on point. Not only did Goldberg work with Hugh Masekela, he himself was born in Cape Town. “Ojoyo Plays Safrojazz” is a reissue of Morris Goldberg’s debut album, with overdubs by some amazing jazz musicians like Chris Botti on trumpet, keyboardist Tony Cedras and bass man, Bakithi Kumalo. Drummer Anton Fig and percussionist Cyro Baptista boost the rhythm section and a number of other guest players add color and energy to this infectious music. All nine songs are Goldberg originals and mirror his South African roots. In his hometown of Cape Town, Morris pursued music early-on, with emphasis on blending African music with bebop. He debuted his concept with pianist John Mehegan in 1959 and their recording was one of the first jazz sessions in South Africa. Goldberg has recorded with the great Miriam Makeba and Harry Belafonte in the 1980s and was part of Paul Simon’s award-winning Graceland album.