March 2017 – After 5 years of discussion, the long awaited album collaboration is here between talented Mozambican saxophonist, Moreira Chonguiça and the ‘Lion of Africa’, Cameroonian, Manu Dibango. The album is to be released on Friday 31 March 2017 at the 18th edition of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.
In February 2015, the two African saxophonists began discussing a list of songs. In March 2015, Moreira flew to Paris to rehearse with Manu Dibango’s band comprising of – Cameroonians, Jacques Conti Bilong on drums, Guy Nwongang on percussion, Justin Bowen on piano-keyboards and Guy Nsangué Akwa on bass guitar and Valérie Belinga on vocals. From France, Patrick Marie-Magdelaine on guitar, Isabel Gonzalez on vocals and two-time Grammy award-winner – for his work on Zawinal Syndicate – Paco Séry on sanza (more commonly known as the mbira).
“I am honoured and humbled by the opportunity and circumstance created by “Papa Manu” to express, experiment, sometimes in a very disruptive manner, the rhythms and grooves that I have never heard; the chords and melodies that I never thought I would record; the meals, talks and jokes that we shared whilst building this historical storm.
M&M is a celebration of similarities and differences, diversity and pluralism, love and hate, empathy and passion. M&M mirrors once more that in a creative world the best form of evolution is the collaboration. M&M is the true reflection that as Africans we can live together, love each other and break all negative boundaries related to our wellbeing.“ says Moreira.
The album was recorded at Ferber Studios in Paris, France under engineer Guillaume DuJardin and was mastered at Milestone Studios in Cape Town, South Africa by Murray Anderson.
Moreira Chonguiça has produced the album, he performs on alto and soprano saxophone and the arrangements with the exception of Track 1 and 10 are by Manu Dibango who performs on the vibraphone and saxophones.
For Manu, it was an opportunity to give African meaning to established American jazz standards and to “return the boat to African soil”. For Moreira, the privilege of working with Manu at this level was an extraordinary experience that only comes along once in a lifetime.
Moreira and Manu first collaborated on Moreira’s second album The Moreira Project Vol 2: Citizen of the World on the track “West South Side”, which has been included as a bonus track.
Manu Dibango has released over 40 albums to date with nearly 800 songs including collaborations and duets.
“The idea and perseverance for this album came from Moreira! We have been friends and collaborating for about 15 years. It is a very nice album, for which I took great pleasure in writing the arrangements, an African re-reading of the music made in the USA: the return of the “boat” on African soil.
I hope that those who listen to it will take as much pleasure as we did when it was recorded in Paris. We had sought, Moreira and myself, an atmosphere of peace and serenity where only music is the Master. So we invite you to listen, dance and vibrate body and soul.” says the legendary Manu Dibango.
The CD will be on sale at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, at all good music stores and online from www.CDBaby.com.
Track one – “Blues for Africa” (03:22) is just pure jazz. There was no plan, no structure, just two old friends jamming together for the love of the saxophone and music.
Track two – “Take Five” (06:31) is a jazz piece composed by Paul Desmond and original recorded by the Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1959 for their album “Time Out”. He played alto sax in the quartet. It became an unlikely hit and the biggest selling jazz single ever.
Track three – “Tutu” (08:11) composed by Marcus Miller for Miles Davis’ album of the same name as a tribute to Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, Desmond Tutu who Davis was prevented from visiting during the apartheid era.
Track four – “Softly, as in a morning sunrise (05:51) is a song written by Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein for the 1928 operetta, The New Moon.
Track five – “Unga Hlupheki Nkata” 05:14) is a soft romantic ballad written by one of Mozambique’s greatest composers, Fany Pfumo. Leaving Mozambique to work in South Africa, he wrote this song in Shangaan, telling his lady that he will return to marry her.
Track six – “Night and Day” (09:08) was written by Cole Porter in 1932 for the musical “Gay Divorce”, which was retitled “Gay Divorcee” for the film version. Fred Astaire made this iconic American jazz standard a number one hit.
Track seven – “In a Sentimental Mood” (05:09) – this legendary jazz composition was written in 1935 by Duke Ellington. The most well known version was recorded with Ellington and John Coltrane in 1963.
Track eight – “Nonto Sangoma” (06:24)– composed by saxophonist and record producer, Isaac Zakes Nkosi (Bra Zakes) and recorded for the first time by the Dark City Sisters but later recorded by African Jazz Pioneers in 1994.
Track nine – “Soul Makossa” (07:58) – was first released as a single by Manu Dibango as the B- side for a record celebrating the Cameroonian Football team’s achievements at the African Cup of Nations. In 1973 the single reached 35 on the US Billboard Hot 100; No 21 on the US Billboard Hot Soul Singles and No 17 on France’s SNEP charts. It has been adapted and sampled over 40 times and covered at least 20 times by other artists. It is an iconic legendary truly African masterpiece.
Track ten – “West South Side” – written by Moreira Chonguiça for his second album The Moreira Project, Vol 2: Citizen of the World, which features the distinctive voice and saxophone of Manu Dibango. The album went on to win Best Contemporary Jazz Album and Best Album Art at the 2009 South African Music Awards.