Era – Manyano (Atlantic ACH 1000, 1980)Queenstown jazz vocalist Stompie Mavi (1955-2008) began his career in the early 1970s as a teenager in an outfit known as the Modern Jazz Sextet, alongside guitarist Ivan Makina. ‘Manyano’ (meaning ‘unity’ or ‘oneness’ in isiXhosa), is the 1980 debut LP from the band he fronted from the late 1970s onwards. Era made their mark on the South African jazz scene, and some HYMAP recordings of them in performance at the Market Theatre have been made available at the ever eye-opening SAMAP site (here). Mavi went on to great success, and much of his music is still quite widely available. The LP we present here is the first outing by this fondly remembered star. A tribute by the former South African minister of arts and culture, Pallo Jordan, can be found here.
Decked out in dashikis, and with their star-signs listed on the back cover in the best 70s soul tradition, Era lay down a polished jazz-funk fusion in the Spirits Rejoice mold, the horns bright and crisp over the infectious, elastic thump of the rhythm section. Enjoy.
Stompie Mavi – lead vocals; Buggs Tafu – guitar; Xuba Xaba – alto; Don Heba – trumpet; Sam Nxusani – bass; Desmond Malotana – keyboards; Gambu Pasiya – tenor; Zola Sishuba – backing vocals; Themba Mngomezulu – drums.