As-Shams Archive Vol. 1: South African Jazz, Funk & Soul 1975-1982

As-Shams Archive Vol. 1 introduces the core catalogue of As-Shams/The Sun, the independent record label that documented some of the most exciting developments in jazz, funk and soul from South Africa in the 1970s. With 10 tracks from 10 iconic albums featuring 10 different artists and 10 original compositions, this compilation delivers 85 minutes of South African music history.

Including essential tracks by the likes of Dick Khoza, Black Disco and Harari, remastered from the original analog tapes, As-Shams Archive Vol. 1 is an unbeatable introduction to South African rare groove for new listeners as well as a long-awaited first anthology for the label’s many devoted followers.


1. KIPPIE MOKETSI – “Umgababa” (K. Moketsi)
From the album Tshona! (1975)
Alto Sax - Kippie Moketsi, Tenor Sax – Basil Coetzee, Piano – Pat Matshikiza, Bass – Alec Khaoli, Drums – Sipho Mabuse.

2. PAT MATSHIKIZA – “Dreams are Wonderful” (P. Matshikiza)
Piano – Pat Matshikiza, Alto Sax – Kippie Moketsi, Tenor Sax – Duku Makasi, Trumpet – George Tyefumani, Guitar – Sandile Shange, Bass – Sipho Gumede, Drums – Gilbert Matthews.

3. TETE MBAMBISA – “Umthsakazi (The Bride)” (T. Mbambisa)
Piano – Tete Mbambisa, Alto Sax – Barney Rachabane, Tenor Sax – Duku Makasi/Aubrey Simani, Baritone Sax – Freeman Lambatha, Trumpet – Tex Nduluka, Guitar – Enoch Mthalane, Bass – Sipho Gumede, Drums – Dick Khoza.

4. DICK KHOZA – “Lilongwe” (D. Khoza)
From the album Chapita (1975)
Drums – Dick Khoza/Negro Mathunjwa, Tenor & Soprano Sax – Ezra Ngcukana, Tenor Sax – Aubrey Simani/Khaya Mahlangu, Alto Sax - Teaspoon Noel, Trumpet – Themba Mehlomakulu, Trombone – Willie Nettie, Electric Piano – Mac Mathunjwa, Lead Guitar – Themba Mokoena, Rhythm Guitar – Joe Zikhali, Bass Guitar – Bethuel Maphumulo.

5. MIKE MAKHALEMELE – “Spring is Here” (M. Makhalemele)
From the album Blue Mike (1982)
Tenor Sax – Mike Makhalemele, Organ – Jabu Nkosi, Bass – Zulu Bidi, Drums – Nelson Magwaza.

6. BLACK DISCO – “Night Express” (B. Coetzee)
From the album Night Express (1976)
Organ – Pops Mohamed, Flute & Tenor Sax – Basil Coetzee, Bass – Sipho Gumede, Drums – Peter Morake.

7. LIONEL PILLAY – “Blues for Yusef” (L. Pillay)
From the album Deeper in Black (1980)
Piano – Lionel Pillay, Alto Sax – Barney Rachabane, Tenor & Soprano Sax – Duku Makasi, Bass – Sipho Gumede, Drums – Gilbert Matthews.

8. HARARI – “Musikana” (S. Ntuli, A. Khaoli, S. Mabuse)
From the album Rufaro (1976)
Vocals – Selby Ntuli/Alec Khaoli/Sipho Mabuse, Alto Sax – Barney Rachabane, Trumpet – Stompie Manana, Lead Guitar – Themba Mokoena, Keyboard – Selby Ntuli, Bass – Alec Khaoli, Drums – Sipho Mabuse.

9. MOVEMENT IN THE CITY – “Blue Sunday” (P. Mohamed)
Piano – Pops Mohamed, Tenor Sax – Basil Coetzee, Bass – Peter Odendaal, Drums – Monty Weber.

10. SATHIMA BEA BENJAMIN – “Music” (B. Benjamin)
Vocals – Sathima Bea Benjamin, Flute – Basil Coetzee, Bass - Louis Spears/Basil Moses/Lionel Beukes, Drums - Doug Sides/Monty Weber.

Cover Photograph by RALPH NDAWO
Gatefold Artwork (Vinyl Edition) by HARGREAVES NTUKWANA

Audio Mastering by Noah Mintz
Design Layout by Rouleaux van der Merwe
Compiled & Produced by Calum MacNaughton
Executive Producer: Rashid Vally

Cat. No. ASA101
℗ 1975, 1976, 1979, 1980, 1982 As-Shams/The Sun
© 2023 As-Shams Archive

As-Shams Archive is home to the catalogues of As-Shams/The Sun, its predecessor Soultown Records and the reissue imprint MANDLA. The archive holds original master tapes, unreleased recordings, photographs, artwork and ephemera documenting the story of South African jazz in the 1970s.


Three As-Shams albums from the late-70s that trace the interweaving discographies of pianist Lionel Pillay and tenor saxophonist Basil Coetzee. The connection between these three titles is tight as the 1987 release Shrimp Boats compiled unreleased recordings from both the 1979 session for Plum and Cherry and the 1980 session for Deeper in Black. Shrimp Boats and Plum and Cherry capture the extraordinary musical chemistry that existed between Pillay and Coetzee during this era. Deeper in Black is Pillay's nod to American trumpeter Blue Mitchell, who toured and recorded in South Africa in 1976. Restored, remastered and reissued in partnership with We Are Busy Bodies.


Three As-Shams albums from the mid-1970s that trace the interweaving discographies of saxophonist Kippie Moeketsi and pianist Pat Matshikiza. Tshona! was their collaborative effort from 1975, supported by Basil Coetzee on tenor and with Beaters/Harari holding down the rhythm section. Matshikiza would then invite Moeketsi to feature on his solo debut Sikiza Matshikiza in 1976, this time backed by Spirits Rejoice. Matshikiza later pops up on the Harold Baker/Charles Hodges composition "Hang On There" covered on Moeketsi's Blue Stompin' album in 1977. Restored, remastered and reissued in partnership with We Are Busy Bodies.


Following the April 2022 reissue of the album Shrimp Boats, We Are Busy Bodies presents companion titles Plum and Cherry and Deeper in Black to round out a Lionel Pillay and Basil Mannenberg Coetzee “trilogy” as part of the label’s As-Shams South African jazz archive series. The connection between these three albums is tight as the 1987 release Shrimp Boats compiled unreleased recordings from both the 1979 session for Plum and Cherry and the 1980 session for Deeper in Black. These two rare records have been carefully remastered from their original tapes and are back in print for the very first time in over 40 years.

Shrimp Boats and Plum and Cherry capture the extraordinary musical chemistry that existed between pianist Lionel Pillay and tenor saxophonist Basil Coetzee in the late 1970s. The respective album showpieces “Shrimp Boats” and “Cherry” each occupy an entire side of vinyl with both exquisite musical journeys clocking in at an epic 25 minutes a piece. While “Shrimp Boats” was an instrumental reimagining of the popular 1951 song by American singer Jo Stafford, “Cherry” drew inspiration from Abdullah Ibrahim at the behest of producer Rashid Vally, who wanted to emulate the success of the famous track that had helped launch his independent As-Shams/The Sun record label in 1974. Ibrahim’s hit “Mannenberg” had also featured Basil Coetzee and it was this zeitgeist South African jazz recording that had given rise to his stage name.

Capturing the grace and vitality of working-class township life on the city fringe, “Cherry” channels the type of laid-back Cape groove that Abdullah Ibrahim, recording as Dollar Brand, introduced to South African jazz in the 1970s. On the flip side, “Plum” appears to take its own simple chord change in the same direction before breaking into a chugging 20-minute romp that verges on proto-electronica and on which Pillay hangs all manner of savage keyboard riffing and experimentation. The two distinct flavours of Plum and Cherry make for a well-rounded platter with an iconic cover featuring the work of abstract expressionist painter and As-Shams/The Sun collaborator Hargreaves Ntukwana.

Lionel Pillay – Piano, Electric Piano, Organ, Other Keyboards
Basil Coetzee – Tenor Sax on “Cherry”
Rod Clark – Drums, Percussion
Charles Johnstone – Bass

Recorded at Gallo Studios
Engineer – Robin Ritchie
Cover Painting by Hargreaves Ntukwana

Produced by Lionel Pillay & Rashid Vally
Cat. No. SRK 786146
℗ 1979 As-Shams/The Sun

LIONEL PILLAY - Deeper in Black

Alongside the likes of As-Shams recording artists Pat Matshikiza and Tete Mbambisa, Lionel Pillay was one of the legendary pianists to emerge during the golden age of South Africa jazz in the 1960s. A sideman to and friend of Winston Mankunku Ngozi, Pillay appears on the most lauded historic recording from this era – the Mankunku Quartet’s 1968 long-player Yakhal’ Inkomo. Pillay later recorded his own version of the album’s title track, now a South African jazz standard, which was issued on the compilation Shrimp Boats in 1987.

Lionel Pillay’s broad list of associations is a testament to how widely respected he was in South Africa’s diverse jazz scene. In addition to his work with Mankunku, he played with Hugh Masekela in the early 1960s, produced the exquisite long-form recordings “Shrimp Boats” and “Cherry” with Basil Coetzee in the 1970s and collaborated with trumpeter Murray Campbell and saxophonist Bez Martin in the 1980s. However, is it with his 1980 album Deeper in Black, backed by core members of the jazz-fusion supergroup Spirits Rejoice, that his legacy was cemented.

Deeper in Black was inspired by the 1969 Blue Note recording of American trumpeter Blue Mitchell entitled Collision in Black and took its name from Pillay’s cover of the album’s Peggy Grayson composition. Pillay’s album featured another two compositions from Collision in Black by way of the Monk Higgins track “Keep Your Soul,” with distinct arrangements straddling Side A and Side B, and Vee Pea’s “Jo Ju Ja” closing out the set. Although the source material was over a decade old when Pillay recorded his album, Collision in Black had struck a chord in South Africa with its first pressing in 1969 and even seen a local repressing in 1978. Blue Mitchell owed much of his popularity in South Africa to a six-week tour with saxophonist Harold Land in 1976. It was during this time that As-Shams/The Sun producer Rashid Vally seized the opportunity to record the Dollar Brand album Blues for a Hip King with Mitchell and Land backing Abdullah Ibrahim. Although the recording and release of Pillay’s Deeper in Black coincides with Blue Mitchell’s death in May 1979, the album was not explicitly promoted as a tribute but did certainly offer a respectful nod to the esteemed trumpeter who was among the few American jazz heavyweights who managed to connect with the South African scene during the Apartheid era.

Although Pillay was a great arranger, Deeper in Black also showcases the exquisite original composition and album opener “Blues for Yusuf” with its shimmering keys, funky bass and searing sax. Issued in an all-black sleeve, there was a veiled revolutionary spirit behind the album’s hip modern sound that drew it into alliance with the work of contemporaries Movement in the City, who also sought to bring South African jazz into the 1980s along with a subtle edge of radical social realism. Pillay performed and recorded under the stage name Lionel Martin in the 1980s before fading into obscurity in 1990s owing to mental health challenges and passing away in 2003. While the details of his personal life are vague, his contribution to South African jazz is vividly documented on Deeper in Black with enduring vitality. Pillay’s discography on the As-Shams label is rounded out by Shrimp Boats, which features unreleased material from the Deeper in Black session, and his collaborative album Plum and Cherry with saxophonist Basil Mannenberg Coetzee.

Lionel Pillay – All Keyboards
Barney Rachabane – Alto Sax
Duku Makasi – Tenor & Soprano Sax
Sipho Gumede – Bass
Gilbert Mathews – Drums & Percussion

Produced by Rashid Vally
Cat. No. SRK 786149
℗ 1980 As-Shams/The Sun

MOVEMENT IN THE CITY - Movement in the City

In the wake of a 2020 edition of Movement in the City's second album Black Teardrops (1981), Sharp-Flat Records returns with a prequel by way of a reissue of the band's self-titled debut from 1979.

As the 1970s were drawing to a close, the epic Black Disco studio project with its signature pairing of drum machine and organ had run its course. After delivering a killer trilogy of cosmic lounge outings dating back to 1975, the group yearned for funkier grooves and the core trio of composer Pops Mohamed on organ with Basil Coetzee on tenor sax and Sipho Gumede on bass decided to hire a drummer and rebrand as Movement in the City. In contrast with the New Age detachment of Black Disco, Movement in the City was conceptually grounded in the bleak social realism depicted on its photographic album covers and leaned into the vivid sensibilities of library music from the era. Blending Cape jazz with funk and soul, the group's output evokes a soundtrack for South African city life at the outset of the 1980s while nodding allegorically to the subterranean movements that were in the course of shaking the cage for political change.

With its cast of jazz fusion all-stars, Movement in the City is the manifesto of a band in transition - a bold and slick first offering that delivers a modern South African sound capable of both the funky exuberances of "Mister Lucky" as well as the down-home pathos of "Blue Sunday." Restored from its original tape masters and released in partnership with As-Shams Archive and Pops Mohamed, this rare artefact of South African jazz history is back in print for the very first time since its original 1979 release.

Organ, Electric Piano, Piano – Pops Mohamed
Saxophones – Basil Coetzee
Bass – Sipho Gumede
Drums – Gilbert Matthews

Bass on "Blue Sunday" – Peter Odendaal
Drums on "Blue Sunday" – Monty Weber

All Tracks Composed by Pops Mohamed
Produced by Rashid Vally

Cat. No. SRK 786147
℗ 1979 As-Shams/The Sun


Original 1976 sleeve notes by Bruno Rub:

When asked to give some information about her career she replied, in a letter, with these words: "I tried hard to write about myself and music, and why I sing, and then it all just sounded too silly, so I ended up writing poems and a few other thoughts."

The statement – so it seems to me – is typical of the personality who made it: Bea Benjamin, the singer from South Africa, finds sufficient expression in music and poetry. The following short poem can be taken as her program, so to speak:

i love to sing
i love to live
i live to love
i sing to LOVE

One is almost afraid to add more to these lines. Music and poetry speak for themselves. Any attempt at an analysis is basically a use of violence, over-powering the subject.

Bea Benjamin was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. She began her professional career singing in 1959, when she toured South Africa with the Harold Jephta Quartet. In 1960, she joined the Dollar Brand Trio, and a year later went on tour with the Jazz Epistles, which included Dollar Brand, Kippie Moeketsi and Hugh Masekela. In 1962 she came to Switzerland with the Dollar Brand Trio, appeared at the Zurich jazz-club "Africana", sang on radio and television in Lausanne and made guest-appearances in Berne and Geneva. Later that year she moved to Scandinavia. In Denmark she made radio and T.V. appearances with the Dollar Brand Trio and did extended engagements at the "Montmarte" jazz-club in Copenhagen. She did concerts in Stockholm, Oslo and Helsinki. Duke Ellington engaged her for recordings in Paris, on the Reprise label; the tapes, on which Ellington himself as well as Billy Strayhorn can be heard, were never issued as a recording, regrettably. In 1964 Bea was a guest at the festivals in Molde (Norway), Antibes (Riviera) and Ascona (Switzerland), and in 1965 she appeared with Ellington at the Newport Jazz Festival. With Dollar Brand she gave a concert in the old Carnegie Hall, again with Ellington there were concerts in Vermont and Maryland. Other concert and television dates, as well as appearances at U.S. colleges, followed in 1966. In 1967/68 she was on a South African tour, with Dollar Brand. In 1970 she and Dollar Brand founded the Marimba School of Music, in Mbabane, Switzerland. With the group "Music of Universal Silence", founded by Dollar Brand and Don Cherry, she appeared in Denmark in 1972, as well as at that year's "Music Forum" in Austria. Add to this her participation in the Jazz-Vespers with Duke Ellington, in St. Peter's Church, New York, on December 24, 1972. In January 1973 she gave a concert with the Sam Rivers Quartet in New York, as well as several concerts in Switzerland.

The "New York Times" music critic, John S. Wilson, writes about the singer, who in her concerts gives preference to ballads, compositions by Duke Ellington, and spirituals: "Miss Benjamin has a soft, warm, beautifully projected voice and a quietly dramatic quality that are extremely effective in developing a song in a quiet, subdued mood". Dollar Brand, who is Bea's husband, is also one of her most frequent accompanists. She herself formulates his qualities as follows: "To work with a 'man of music' like Dollar Brand is a blessing, a challenge and always a learning experience. As an accompanist he has that very rare and extremely special gift of 'setting your soul free'".

All words and music by Sathima Bea Benjamin
Arranged and conducted by Dollar Brand

Vocals - Sathima Bea Benjamin
Bass - Louis Spears / Basil Moses / Lionel Beukes
Drums - Doug Sides / Monty Weber
Trumpet - Billy Brooks
Tenor Sax / Flute - Basil "Mannenberg" Coetzee
Piano - Dollar Brand

Vocals - Sathima Bea Benjamin
Flute - Basil "Mannenberg" Coetzee
Bass - Louis Spears / Basil Moses / Lionel Beukes
Drums - Doug Sides / Monty Weber

"African Songbird"
Vocals - Sathima Bea Benjamin

AFRICA - Well it speaks for itself.
MUSIC - Dedicated to my husband Dollar Brand, who has inspired me and taught me so much musically.
AFRICAN SONGBIRD - Dedicated to the late Duke Ellington.

Produced by Rashid Vally
Cat. No. GL 1839
℗ 1976 As-Shams/The Sun

BLACK DISCO - Night Express

Pops Mohamed leaned heavily on his Yamaha Electone's "auto rhythm section" to produce the Timmy Thomas-inspired signature drum machine sound that characterised Black Disco's 1975 self-titled debut. Following in 1976, Night Express took the group to new heights with the inclusion of drummer Peter Morake (Abdullah Ibrahim/Roots) on most of the tracks. In addition to Mohamed on organ, founding members Sipho Gumede (bass) and Basil Coetzee (sax/flute) round out the Black Disco sound with memorable original compositions and a smattering of unique takes on unlikely covers. The result is an album more deeply rooted in South African jazz sensibilities with a title track that has become one of the most widely admired artefacts of downbeat 1970s Afro-funk.

Organ - Pops Mohamed
Tenor Sax & Flute - Basil Coetzee
Bass - Sipho Gumede
Drums - Peter Morake

Recorded in the Gallo Studios
Recording Engineer - Peter Ceronio

Produced by Rashid Vally
Cat. No. GL 1831
℗ 1976 As-Shams/The Sun

BARNEY RACHABANE - "Tegeni" / "Mafuta"

While Barney Rachabane did not have a release of his own on As-Shams/The Sun in the 1970s, he was no stranger to Rashid Vally's South African jazz enterprise. The alto saxophonist played alongside three of the label's most iconic artists by way of Dollar Brand/Abdullah Ibrahim (on the album African Herbs in 1975), Tete Mbambisa (on the album Tete's Big Sound in 1976) and Kippie Moeketsi (on the album Blue Stompin' in 1977). Rachabane is also to be found supporting pianist Lionel Pillay on Deeper in Black in 1978 as well as on the second half of the 1987 release Shrimp Boats (check out his take on Mankunku’s “Yakhal 'Inkomo”), which was culled from the same sessions.

That the As-Shams archive contained unreleased material by Barney Rachabane in the role of composer and bandleader is not widely known. Recorded in 1978, the tracks "Tegeni" and "Mafuta" emmerged in the late 1980s for a series of compilations distilled from the vault. In the wake of Rachabane's passing in 2021, in celebration of his enormous contribution to South Africa jazz and in collaboration with his family, we now present "Tegeni" and "Mafuta" in the form of an EP - an official release from As-Shams/The Sun with catalogue number SRK 897248. Through the fog of time, we're not certain that these two tracks represent the entirety of what the 1978 Rachabane session yielded but this is all we've managed to restore from the tape collection for now.

As with his Lionel Pillay recordings, Barney Rachabane can be found in the company of Spirits Rejoice on these tracks with Sipho Gumede on bass, Gilbert Matthews on drums and Duku Makasi stepping in on "Mafuta" on tenor. Notable too, putting in an exquisite performance, is former Drive and early-period Spirits Rejoice pianist Bheki Mseleku. With effortlessly swinging big-hearted deep marabi vibes, these recordings stand beside "Mannenberg" and "Tshona!" as some of the most joyful expressions of South African jazz during its 1970s golden age.

Composed by Barney Rachabane

Barney Rachabane – Alto Sax
Bheki Mseleku – Piano
Sipho Gumede – Bass
Gilbert Matthews – Drums
Duku Makasi – Tenor Sax on "Mafuta"

Cat. No. SRK 897248 
℗ 1978 © 2022 As-Shams/The Sun

PAT MATSHIKIZA - Sikiza Matshikiza

Born in Queenstown in South Africa's Eastern Cape province in 1938, Patrick Vuyo Matshikiza was raised in a musical family. His uncle Todd Matshikiza was a jazz columnist for Drum Magazine in the 1950s and composed the music for King Kong - the all-black musical from 1958 that played in London's West End and launched the career of singer Mariam Makeba. Pat was educated at St. Mathews, an historic mission school in Keiskammahoek, where he played organ and graduated with a teacher's diploma. He migrated to Johannesburg in 1962 and joined the community of professional black musicians that orbited Dorkay House, headquarters of Union Artists and the African Music and Drama Association. It was here that Matshikiza was enlisted as a pianist for the Jazz Dazzlers, a big band led by esteemed saxophonist Mackay Davashe. Matshikiza would then go on to join the Early Mabuza Quartet, a group that shared first prize with the Malombo Jazz Man at the Castle Lager Jazz Festival in 1964.

Recording for the As-Shams/The Sun label in the 1970s, Pat Matshikiza released the collaborative album Tshona! with sax giant Kippie Moeketsi in 1975. The album was followed in 1976 by Sikiza Matshikza, Pat's solo debut with Moeketsi appearing as a featured artist. The personnel on the album were an early iteration of the group that would become Spirits Rejoice in 1977, with Duke Makasi on tenor sax, George Tyefumani on trumpet, Sipho Gumede on bass, Gilbert Mathews on drums and Sandile Shange (who appears alongside Matshikiza and Moeketsi on the album's cover photo) on guitar.

In the 1980s, Matshikiza withdrew from the jazz scene to pursue a more stable income as a resident pianist on the hotel circuit. He resurrected his jazz career in the 2000s, performing in Johannesburg clubs and releasing the live album Originals (2004) and retrospective album Seasons, Masks and Keys (2005). He retired in 2011 after suffering a stroke and his health steadily declined until his death in 2014. Pat Matshikiza's mid-70s recordings mark a high point in his career and are essential documents in the history of South African jazz on vinyl. With these reissues, we hope to bring his artistic legacy to prominence and share his work with lovers of jazz around the world.

Pat Matshikiza - Piano
Kippie Moeketsi - Alto Saxophone
Duke Makasi - Tenor Saxophone
George Tyefumani - Trumpet
Sandile Shange - Guitar
Sipho Gumede - Bass
Gilbert Mathews - Drums

All tracks composed by Pat Matshikiza
Recorded at Gallo Studios
Recording Engineer: Peter Ceronio
Produced by Rashid Vally
Cat. No. GL 1857
℗ 1976 © 2022 As-Shams/The Sun