The Sound Unit - Tribute To The Blue Note Sextet

The Blue Notes was an Avant-Garde sextet formed in the inner city of Johannesburg in 1963. The band was initially started from the Castle Lager Big Band competition which included personnel such as, Ronnie Beer, Christopher 'Columbus' Ngcukana, Nick Moyake, Barney Rachebane, Dennis Mphale and Pat Matshikiza. Once the Castle Lager Big Band ensemble evolved into the Blue Note sextet in 1964 the band then, left for France to perform at the Antibes Jazz festival where they got exposure in the European Jazz scene. While in Europe the group recorded its second offering under the Polydore label, titled 'Very Urgent' which gained critical success as a spiritual Jazz masterpiece.

After the band split up Chris McGregor formed a new ensemble called the Brotherhood Of Breath which consisted of some of the original Blue Note personnel such as, Mongezi Feza (Trumpet), Dudu Pukwana (Alto Saxophone), Johnny Dyani (Upright Bass), Louis Moholo (Drums). Other members also went on to  pursue their own projects as bandleaders such as, Dudu Pukwana's Spear, Assegai ( Dudu Pukwana, Mongezi Feza and Louis Maholo), and Zila. Between the periods 1975 - 1990 some of the members continued to record in France and the UK while others experienced tragic deaths with, Mongezi Feza losing his life in 1975 after suffering from pneumonia following, Chris McGregor and Dudu Pukwana both passing away in 1990

This podcast pays special tribute to The Blue Notes who are considered to be one of the most prominent jazz ensembles to come out from the Avant-Garde Jazz era and from South Africa. The mix includes recordings from the Township Bop , Brotherhood Of Breath and Spear sessions.


  1. The Blue Notes - Vortex Special (Township Bop)

  2. The Blue Notes - Schoolboy (Township Bop)

  3. The Blue Notes - Izitunwya (Township Bop)

  4. Chris McGregors' Brotherhood of Breath - The Bride

  5. Chris McGregors' Brotherhood of Breath  - MRA

  6. Chris McGregors' Brotherhood of Breath  - Andromeda (In the Townships)

  7. Dudu Pukwana & The Spear - Angel Nemali (In the Townships)

  8. Dudu Pukwana  & The Spear - Ezilalini (In the Townships)

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