2LP Vinyl – MM112
Celebration’s release trumpeted the emerging dawn of South Africa’s epochal changes. Sainted and blessed, Bheki Mseleku appeared as the herald of a new era, a prophet of rebirth and reconnection. This is a work signalling transition and change, and a sign of a South African music that was properly reconnected with global currents – a music that could journey far beyond the stifling combination of exile and oppression in which it had been bound.
While the idioms of post-Coltrane spirit jazz are certainly to the fore on Celebration, they are energised by a swift and original musical vision, quite specific to Bheki’s music, in which whole musical systems – the marabi and mbhaqanga jazz of the townships, American jazz, European classical, and more – are seamlessly mended together by the pianist’s quicksilver musical sensibility and legendary technical ability.