A window into South Africa’s jazz history

Some of the first full color photographs of the underground jazz scene left behind by South African exiles in the 1960s feature in this book.

Kippie Moeketsi; Winston Mankunku Ngozi. (Photos: Ian Huntley).

The book, Keeping Time, celebrates the public emergence of an extraordinary visual and audio archive begun by Ian Bruce Huntley in Cape Town fifty years ago. In short it challenges a long-held belief that jazz in South Africa went silent after Dollar Brand, Miriam Makeba, Bea Benjamin and the Blue Notes left South Africa in the early 1960s. Produced in a limited edition of 500 copies the publication features some of the first full color photographs of the underground jazz scene left behind by the exiles. The book gives lovers of South African music, scholars, musicians, artists, anyone who is fascinated with the achievements of a generation of South African jazz musicians, a small but invaluable means towards maintaining memory and articulating lost stories.

The publication opens a window to a little known era of South Africa’s music history, documenting a generation of jazz musicians in 120 selected and carefully restored images. Ian’s pictures and 56 hours of audio recordings capture the jazz scene that persisted in creative defiance of all that grand apartheid threw at it. Many of the photographed live performances are indexed and the entire book — photographs, essays and discography — will be available for open access via the Electric Jive website, continuing the tradition Ian established.

Image on the left: Dollar Brand (later Abdullah Ibrahim). On the right: Tex Kulani (front, trumpet) and other musicians, including Dollar Brand (third row, next to two unidentified women).

Keeping Time is published by Chris Albertyn and Associates in partnership with Electric Jive. In addition to a biographical sketch of Ian Huntley, the book offers a substantial essay by Jonathan Eato, a full discography of all 56 hours of the recordings Ian made, and a comprehensive index. South African artist Siemon Allen is responsible for the design and layout. Photographer Cedric Nunn has painstakingly restored the images. The limited print edition of the book has been produced with significant voluntary contributions of time and has been privately published and sold at the price it cost to produce.

More details here.

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