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Mongezi Feza - Free Jam

Jerome Wilson, Cadence Magazine

Free Jam is a true treat from the past because it stars the legendary but little heard trumpet player, Mongezi Feza. Feza was part of the contingent of Black and White South African Jazz musicians who fled that country's insane apartheid laws in the Sixties and settled in Great Britain. Feza was an integral part of groups like Chris McGregor's Blue Notes and Brotherhood Of Breath and England's Jazz and experimental rock scene before his sudden death in 1975.

Feza only played on a handful of records. That's what makes this new discovery so special.
In these 1972 recordings Feza is in Stockholm playing with the Bernt Rosengren Quartet, one of Sweden's top free Jazz units, and Turkish percussionist Okay Temiz. The music is a lot more free form than the high energy stuff Feza played in Britain. At many points it turns into a screaming free-for-all. The sound is pretty muffled throughout the disks and it doesn't help when a player goes off mike during his solo, but you can still hear the fire in this work.

The 30-minute plus "Theme Of The Day I"
has the group stating a folkish head, then roaring free in a revolving mass of sounds that ranges from frantic howling to shambolic Hard Bop. Feza gets in his passionate licks but you can also hear the daredevil nature of the Rosengren quartet. With their two-sax front line and restless rhythm section these guys were no slouches.

The "Group Notes" pieces are soulful chaos with furious playing from the entire ensemble and even a few odd strains of piano in the background.

"Group Notes III" in particular shows the intense crying nature of the group's sound.
The "Mong's Research" pieces show off Feza's careening, high speed technique as he spits fire and the others run hell bent for leather.
As well as being historically valuable, this is thrilling music, a brilliant, volatile slab of the past that shows you the full measure of the talent of the late Mongezi Feza.