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Black Beauty

by Allen Kwela

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  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    2023 reissue of the 1975 album by South African jazz guitarist extraordinaire Allen Kwela. Lovily remastered from the original tapes by Frank Merrit at The Carvery in London and pressed at Pallas in Germany on 180g virgin vinyl. Presented in a single replica outer sleeve and printed insert containing unseen photographs and liner notes from Kwanele Sosibo. Limited to 1000 copies.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Black Beauty via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • Full Digital Discography

    Get all 22 Matsuli Music releases available on Bandcamp and save 40%.

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of Black Beauty, One Night in Pelican, Tolika Mtoliki, After the Night, the Day Will Surely Come, Gideon Plays, African Spaces, Harari, Rufaro, and 14 more. , and , .

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Black Beauty 07:08
Mild Storm 08:10
Quaphela 06:50
Willow Vale 10:34


Genre-defining 1975 township jazz from South African pioneers

• Allen Kwela, the legendary guitarist and composer central to the story of South African jazz, channels Wes Montgomery and overlays home-grown marabi, setting the benchmark for what became known as “70s township jazz”.

• Black Beauty features four tracks composed and led by Kwela with a stellar line-up of musicians including Kippie Moeketsi, Barney Rachabane, Gilbert Matthews, Dennis Mpale, Sipho Gumede and others.

• First ever vinyl reissue, a deluxe 180g edition with printed inner sleeve pressed at Pallas in Germany. Audio mastered and cut for vinyl by Frank Merritt at The Carvery.

• Liner notes by Kwanele Sosibo featuring key musician interviews, new insights and unseen photos.

The cream of Johannesburg’s jazz musicians gathered at state-of-the-art Satbel studios to create Black Beauty for the “Soweto” label. Led by guitarist extraordinaire Allen Kwela and featuring the godfather of South African jazz Kippie Moeketsi, the album successfully straddles producer pressure to emulate the commercial success of Abdullah Ibrahim’s Mannenberg, against the musicians’ own impetus to play a jazz they wanted. While the title track “Black Beauty” nods at Ibrahim’s stylings, the magic happens in the three remaining tracks where Kwela and his top-notch band lay down new directions.

Producer Patric van Blerk, sounded disappointed when asked about the sessions, saying that Kwela was his usual strong-willed self, unwilling to be nudged towards the pop trends of the day. “He was a monster talent and deserved much more than he got at the time.”

Matsuli is proud to restore this special album to its rightful place in the pantheon of South African jazz.


released July 27, 2023

Recorded at Satbel Music Recordings Studios, 195 Marshall Street, Johannesburg on April 15, 1975.
Producer: Patric van Blerk.
Engineers: Allan Goldberg and Paul Dobbe.
Remix Engineer: Paul Dobbe.
Issued on the Soweto label (SWA 14013) in 1975.

Produced for reissue by Chris Albertyn and Matt Temple at Matsuli Music.
Reissue design by Siemon Allen at Flatinternational.
Liner notes by Kwanele Sosibo.
Uncredited photographs of Allen Kwela from Drum magazine issues: April 22, 1973; April 22, 1974 and July 22, 1974. Mastered and cut by Frank Merritt at The Carvery Studio, London. Pressed at Pallas GmbH, Germany.
Master recording licensed from As-Shams Archive.


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// deep sounds from south africa //

// memory is the weapon //

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