Friday, August 11, 2017

DOLLAR BRAND - Underground In Africa (LP-1974 / Re-The Sun Records-LP-1979)

Label: The Sun – SRK 786 143
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, 2nd pressing / Country: South Africa / Released: 1979
Original Release: MANDLA ‎– KRS 114 (LP-1974)
Style: Soul-Jazz, Modal, Free Improvisation
Recorded at Gallo Studios in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa, March, 1974.
Painting [Cover] – Hargrawes Nlukwana
Producer – Rashid Vally, Independant Records
Publisher – EKAPA
Composed By – Dollar Brand
Matrix / Runout (Side A, Etched): SRK 786143-A
Matrix / Runout (Side B, Etched): SRK 786143-B

A mega rare and original SOUTH AFRICAN lp release / The Sun pressing!

A  -  Kalahari ....................................................................................................... 23:25
B1 - Ornettes Cornet (In Tribute To Ornette Coleman) ......................................... 5:28
B2 - All Day & All Night Long ............................................................................... 5:30
B3 - Gwidza (In Memory Of Campbel Gwidza) .................................................... 4:50

Dollar Brand – piano, flute
Robbie Jansen – alto saxophone
Basil Coetzee – tenor saxophone [1st], flute
Arthur Jacobs – tenor saxophone [2nd]
[unknown] Special Purpose Artist – marimba
Lionel Beukes – bass [Fender]
Nazier Kapdi – drums, percussion

It's easily my favorite Dollar Brand album. Most of his albums fall into a few different categories. You've got your solo piano albums, your friendly Cape Jazz albums, and some collaborations that could at times go way farther than Brand would go on his own (see his albums with Gato Barbieri, Max Roach, or Archie Shepp). But there are a very rare few where he played with an electric jazz band, and this is one of them. Kalahari's bass groove is massive, and its twenty three minutes are spent in an almost Kraut-y trance of cosmic, serene peace jazz that, and I can't stress enough how important this is, never once gets cheesy or friendly or anything of the sort. It is a blissful, righteous side-long trip.
The other three are a droney meditative piece, a funky jazz groove banger with some more killer bass, and a solo piano piece that spends a great deal of time in an impossibly fast permutation of 9/8.

Keep your spirits up and enter Dollar Brands a masterpiece "Kalahari", taken from his supa rare "Underground In Africa" LP. Mr Brand delivers an epic 23 min long afro jazz monster that from beginning to end sets you in a musical trance.

If you find it, buy this album!


  1. DOLLAR BRAND – Underground In Africa (LP-1974-Re-1979)
    Vinyl Rip/FLAC -96kHz+Artwork (363 MB)


    1. One or two years ago the british label "Matsuli Music" who is specialized in reissuing south African music had an interesting project. They wanted to publish a lp with "Kalahari" on one side and "African day" by Tete Mbambisa on the other side but Abdullah Ibrahim didn't give the right for this project so it never comes. Tete Mbambisa is also a pianist that have made few records and "African day" is a long composition typically in the cape jazz style, coming from an unpublished session done for "The Sun" label. For those who are interested, "The Sun" have reissued "Underground In Africa " on cd in the 90's but the cd reissue is more hard to find than the lp.

    2. Actually both "Kalahari" and "African Day" was released on a compilation cd along with the Pat Matshikiza/Kippie Moketsi album "Tshona!" in its entirety in 1992: That's probably the cheapest, if not only, way to find those two gems on cd.

      Do we know who the vocals on "Kalahari" belongs to? I'm guessing Dollar, but does anybody know for sure? Also I'm guessing the flute is also played by Dollar Brand, but oddly nobody is credited for it?

      A little fun fact: Part of the "vocals" on Kalahari are the same as the title of the last (flute) track on this 1969 live recording from Copenhagen:

      Great post!

  2. Thanks. Mouthwatering, I must say. Never crossed my path.

  3. Thanks a lot for this treasure!

  4. Hi Vitko
    This title was on my list for a future post on Inconstant Sol but you did it first, congratulations. It make me think of others rare cape jazz albums.

  5. Very rare and very cool. Thank you!

  6. Hi Vitko, hope you have had some nice holidays. Thank you for this very welcome post.

  7. This is indeed a great album. I never knew that the الشمس vinyl was a re-release of an even more obscure 1974 release. Thanks a bunch, Vitko!

  8. Your recommendation on this one is good enough for me Vitko . . . Thanks!!!!

  9. A wonderful surprise. Didn't know of this one.
    Thank you.

  10. Thank you very much

  11. other of the best ( the underground Dollar Brand album ) African Songbird ( one of tyhe best spiritual jazz albums ( I & Sergio have in good rip

  12. Is that the one with Bea Benjamin and Dollar Brand together (LP-1976). If you are, I'd love to get a link. Thanks in advance.

  13. Dollar Brand ‎– Natural Rhythm, The Sun ‎– SRK 786139, 1977.
    Another obscurity on The Sun. Hoping someone can find it -- I sure can't!

  14. Vitko, I have a rip of African Songbird in flac if you still need it. Thanks for all your work.

    1. bventure, it would be nice to get a link, I still do not have that album. Thank you in advance.

    2. You're welcome Vitko, small recompense for all your efforts, enjoy!

  15. bventure, thank you very much.

  16. Just caught up with this post, many thanks for keeping it alive. Most appreciated.

  17. Fabulous album....just up my street! Cheers, Vitko

  18. Incroyable! Thank you so much for this incredibly rare find.

  19. Ordered the above mentioned CD "Jazz In Africa Vol.2" some minutes ago.
    But you have ripped the complete LP and the link is still working.
    Thank you, Vitko.