Release date:
November 3, 2023
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Bringing together Johannesburg’s two saxophone titans for a supergroup recording project was a visionary move by Jo’Burg Records in 1976. Following the success of Makhalemele’s debut The Peacemaker and Mankunku’s long-awaited sophomore release Alex Express, which both appeared in 1975, the bar had been set very high. Enamoured by their jazz contemporaries, the session was concocted by members of an exciting new South African rock group called Rabbit, who formed a backing group consisting of guitarist Trevor Rabin, bassist Ronnie Robot and drummer Neil Cloud alongside jazz pianist Tete Mbambisa. Recorded at the state-of-the-art Satbel Music Recording Studios, the inspired performances of this diverse cast of young South African artists at the height of their powers was captured with exquisite fidelity. Packaged as The Bull and the Lion, the album title references Mankunku’s signature composition “Yakhal’ Inkomo” (which means “the bellow of the bull”) and Makhalemele’s stage name “Ratau” (meaning "lion"). The pairing of Mankunku and Makhalemele stands with Moeketsi/Matshikisa and Pillay/Coetzee as one of the epic collaborations of South African jazz in the 1970s.

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