R.I.P. Hugh Masekela

South African jazz legend Hugh Masekela passed today at age 78 after a 10-year fight with prostate cancer. He died in his native Johannesburg where his career began in the 1950s. Masekela became popular in the United States 1968 because of the instrumental hit “Grazing In The Grass.” He was vocal throughout his career about apartheid in South Africa and dedicated “Bring Him Back Home” to Nelson Mandela.  In the ’60s he moved to New York and studied the jazz scene and received advice from Dizzy Gillespie to incorporate his African roots into his music. The same political passion he had for his home country was felt in the United States and he fully supported the Black Power movement. It was during this time period he had a two-year marriage to Miriam Makeba. Masekela toured with Paul Simon in the ’80s and by the ’90s he returned to South Africa. He was eventually named the “father of South African jazz” for the work he did in the area as a young musician and the style he carried worldwide. The autobiography, Still Grazing: The Musical Journey Of Hugh Masekela was released in 2004. No Borders from 2016 was his last recording.

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