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.
Official reissue. Under exclusive license from The Sun/As-Shams.
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