Hugh Masekela: The Best of South Africa

Hugh Masekela
The Miner Auditorium
San Francisco, CA
March 25, 2014

Hugh Masekela: The Best of South Africa

There are few artists that can be accurately characterized as a living legend.  Frequently, that honorific is thrown around willy-nilly without any relation to actual accomplishments.  However, master trumpeter and flugelhornist (flugelhorner?) Hugh Masekela is real live living-legend.  He is also a powerful reminder of the power of music.  After three decades of exile from apartheid South Africa, he finally returned when Nelson Mandela was released from prison over 20 years ago.  Hugh has been making music for a long time!  His music is filled with hope, vitality, and defiance.  Things that would threaten any government based on racial discrimination.  It’s hard to be fearful and anxious when listening to Hugh Masekela.   

As a living legend, you also get to play with the best in the biz.  HM was accompanied by some of the most talented cats around at Tuesday’s show at the Miner Auditorium- where, by the way, there isn't a bad seat in the house.  His guitarist, keyboardist, drummer were all ear-opening impressive.  When he puts down the flugelhorn, Hugh also plays a mean cowbell.  Who knew?  More cowbell !  In addition to the unanticipated and welcome sense of humor throughout the performance, I also really enjoyed his tribute to the Bobs:  Masekela performed Dylan’s “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” and Marley’s “Soul Rebel.”   The love felt for Hugh was palpable in the Auditorium including when the crowd burst into a spontaneous round of Happy Birthday in anticipation of his upcoming 75th birthday.  

One highlight was his classic 1968 hit, Grazing in the Grass.  

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