5

Neil Spencer

South African jazz has a distinguished history that includes giants such as Hugh Masekela and Abdullah Ibrahim, and lesser-known talents such as guitarist Philip Tabane, whose minimalist style is a major influence on this double-CD debut. Like Tabane, Xaba mixes fragmented lines with repeated phrases, all played acoustically to bass and drums, and integrated with high, scatting vocals. Of the two albums here, Unlearning and Open Letter to Adoniah, the latter is his response to a series of dreams and often as unworldly and haunting as that suggests. Tabane’s son, Thabang, plays percussion on Adoniah and has his own album forthcoming. A great tradition stirs.

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South African jazz has a distinguished history that includes giants such as Hugh Masekela and Abdullah Ibrahim, and lesser-known talents such as guitarist Philip Tabane, whose minimalist style is a major influence on this double-CD debut. Like Tabane, Xaba mixes fragmented lines with repeated phrases, all played acoustically to bass and drums, and integrated with high, scatting vocals. Of the two albums here, Unlearning and Open Letter to Adoniah, the latter is his response to a series of dreams and often as unworldly and haunting as that suggests. Tabane’s son, Thabang, plays percussion on Adoniah and has his own album forthcoming. A great tradition stirs.

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