Ojoyo Plays Safrojazz
Review by Willard Manus

The shimmering harmonies and percolating rhythms of South Africa make for irresistible listening on OJOYO PLAYS SAFROJAZZ, a reissue of Morris Goldberg’s 1996 album. As remastered by Sunnyside Records, the album sounds fresher and livelier than before, with the Cape Town-born Goldberg leading the way on alto and penny-whistle as he blends the folk music of South Africa with hard-driving American jazz.

Goldberg, best known for his association with Hugh Masekela (and Paul Simon), wrote all of the nine tunes on OJOYO. They are splendid examples of “township jive,” the music one hears in the bars and dance-halls of South Africa. It’s music for dance and fun.

OJOYO features two overlapping groups, the main one of which finds Chris Botti on trumpet and Anton Fig on drums (plus five other stellar musicians). In the second group Diego Urcola plays trumpet, Cecelia Tenconi, tenor sax. They match Goldberg with their intensity and inventiveness.

It’s a pleasure to listen to OJOYO and feel one’s spirits beginning to soar and fly.