A not-so-well documented passion of mine is the British jazz scene of the late ’60s and early ’70s. Some of the most exciting music made there and then came from a bunch of South African expats. They showed up in London, jammed at Ronnie Scott‘s, bedded a lot of birds (much to the chagrin of the locals), and made some of their best music under the aegis of Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath (which also included some non-expats).
For those who neither care about jazz, in general, or Brit-jazz, in particular, BoB has at least one kind-of-obscuro, but kind-of-semi-popular, claim to fame: It was one of the acts produced by Joe Boyd, the guy behind the boards for many a Fairport Convention, Incredible String Band, and Nick Drake session.
Anyway, back to the jazz. Silver Spring’s Cuneiform Records is responsible for a top-notch new BoB archival release, Eclipse at Dawn. The live disc, which was captured by German radio in 1971, is surprisingly well-recorded and features the 12-piece band in all of its freewheeling, Mingus-meets-the-townships glory. Great stuff.