He comes from Port Elizabeth, South Africa, and this week’s very delayed Late Nite Lounge (do not fight Angolan internet – you will lose) is exclusively his. I first heard of Marcus Wyatt when he came to Luanda for the city’s first International Jazz Festival last year. But I merely limited myself to putting his name on that post and didn’t actually listen to his music. I brushed it aside at the time because it wasn’t Lusophone. Then when I came home to Luanda a couple of weeks ago I found his autographed CD lying in my room, compliments of my cousin Songay who worked at the Jazz Festival. Songay’s effusive recommendation was that I listen to the album Language 12 (at full volume), because it was that good.
African jazz is hard to come by unless you know where to look, and South Africa is an excellent starting point. Marcus Wyatt is perhaps the country’s best known trumpeter, but is also a composer and an able producer. He’s played in Jazz Festivals around the world and performed with some heavyweight artists, including Miriam Makeba, Jimmy Dludlu, Manu Dibango, and the Stockholm Jazz Orchestra. The album Language 12 is his collaboration with other South African jazz musicians and is at once dark, smoky, eclectic, experimental, adventurous, and African. Tracks like Gone meander in and out of consciousness, never rushing and never stressed, punctuated by that throaty female voice singing in our years. Two Short Stories For The Seven Steps is Wyatt’s fusion of jazz with drum & bass, with his ringing trumpet always present. The Invaders Plan is perhaps the most interesting track on the album, featuring spoken lyrics whose content is worth rewinding and playing again, and a lovely woman’s voice rapping to us in a South African language I don’t readily recognize (is it Xhosa?). One thing I do know: there aren’t many jazz albums like Language 12.
Two Short Stories For The Seven Steps - Part One
The Invader's Plan - Part One
-Photo by Christo Doherty
Marcus Wyatt's oficial website
Wyatt on Myspace