Limited, fully licensed 180g vinyl-only reissue of ultra rare South African disco-jazz classic. Featuring tracks: Side A: Kabuzela; Bayabaleka; Side B: Disco Freaks; Disco Baby Available for the first time since its original South African release in 1979, Outernational Sounds presents tenor giant Mike Makhamalele’s monster excursion into funktified disco jazz, Kabuzela. Despite a peerless run of groundbreaking fusion and funk albums through the 1970s, the great South African tenorist Mike Makhamalele has remained somewhat unsung. It’s hard to know why – the music he made at the end of the 1970s is some of the finest jazz fusion made anywhere on the planet. This new edition of Kabuzela is the first time that any of his work has been issued outside of South Africa. Respect is long overdue. Born in Alexandra Township, Johannesburg, Makhalemele learned his craft at the knee of the great Zakes Nkosi, one of the originators of the township jazz sound. By the early 1970s he had joined South Africa’s most successful jazz funk outfit, Henry Sithole’s famous group The Drive, in which he played alongside the great Bheki Mseleku, and storied altoist Kaya Mahlangu. As jazz in South Africa turned toward dancefloor funk and fusion, Makhalemele become a fixture at Soweto’s most happening jazz and dance club, The Pelican – the owner, Lucky Michaels, remembered him as ‘one of the guys who’d walk around to every other musician he knows and say, “Listen, guys, why don’t we meet at the Pelican, let’s go and jam there...”’ From 1975, he began to record under his own name, developing a sophisticated fusion sound in a musical lane where few of his contemporaries were travelling. His stature at this time can be judged by the fact that he went head to head with the legendary Winston Mankunku on 1976’s The Bull And The Lion, an album that marked a symbolic passing of South Africa’s tenor torch. No other player was keeping such close tabs on the changes occurring in the US, and as slick fusion and advanced smooth became the leading sound for contemporary jazz, Makhalemele was in the vanguard, translating the new styles into South African idioms on LPs like Peaceful Eyes and Walking Spirit. The tenorist also carefully watched other global fashions in Black dance and pop music – working under numerous studio aliases, he cut 45rpm covers of big hits including Fela’s ‘Shakara’ and even the Sugar Hill Gang’s ‘Rapper’s Delight’. And in 1979, he entered the Gallo studios with producer Peter Ceronio to respond to the ascendant sound of disco. Kabuzela, named after a contemporary township dance craze, was the result: four extended tracks of bouncing, upful disco jazz. Perfectly calibrated for dancing, heavy on the bass and drums, the album is set off by a gleaming centre piece, ‘Disco Freaks’ – a joyous paean to the weekend and true lost gem of global disco, perfect for the most discerning dancefloors. Transferred from the master tapes by Gallo in South Africa, and mastered for release by D&M. Fully licensed from Gallo South Africa. Distributed by Honest Jons.