Hugh Masekela was born in South Africa in 1939 and first took up the trumpet at the age of 14. By 1956 he had been a bandleader in various different ensembles before settling with Alfred Herbert’s African Jazz Revue. His early music was heavily influenced by his experiences as a young man living in South Africa and it was the daily struggles against apartheid, slavery & hunger that was to give him a writing platform that helped him connect with many people across his home country.
His first hit in the U.S. came with “Up, Up & Away” which later became a smash for The Fifth Dimension. However his biggest hit was to come a year later with the N01 smash “Grazing In The Grass” which again was to be covered by another well-known late 60s/early 70s soul group The Friends Of Distinction.
This selection has a fantastic groove, with Masekela’s trademark horn playing. I wouldn’t really call it afrobeat as such to my mind it’s more of a funky jazz sound. Anyway, whatever label you want to add to it the label I would add is quite simply – cool.