Long before "world music" became a marketing handle, South African trumpeter and vocalist Hugh Masekela mixed genres as if it were no big deal. Since the early '60s, Masekela has been mingling jazz, pop, R&B, and African styles, penning the Top-40 classic "Grazing in the Grass" in the process. He even blew horn on the Byrds' chestnut, "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star."
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Johannesburg's Market Theatre, a performance space where blacks and whites could mix freely during apartheid, Masekela just released a live album. Live at the Market Theatre is a fiery double-disc set. Accompanied by a tight, committed band, Masekela soars on originals like "Mandela" and several choice covers, including Fela Kuti's afrobeat throwdown, "Lady."
The irrepressible Masekela stretches several grooves well past the 15-minute mark, making this jam a joy-filled experience.