Friday, April 8, 2022

Lionel Pillay (feat. Basil Mannenberg Coetzee) - Shrimp Boats (April 8, 2022 We Are Busy Bodies)

Assembling unreleased recordings from 1979 and 1980, Shrimp Boats is a South African jazz archival compilation from 1987 built around its epic side-long title track featuring saxophonist Basil "Mannenberg" Coetzee. The recording was made during pianist Lionel Pillay's November 1979 session with Coetzee for the As-Shams/The Sun album Plum and Cherry. Side Two is composed of material recorded in September 1980 from the session for Lionel Pillay's Deeper in Black album. The 1951 pop standard "Shrimp Boats" was first given its unlikely jazz arrangement by Abdullah Ibrahim (recording as Dollar Brand) in 1971.

Pillay and Coetzee take this seed of an arrangement to its furthest reaches with their mesmerising performance. Although the title track casts a big shadow, Pillay's "Slow Blues for Orial" is a welcome original composition on the flip side that stands proudly next to a rare 1970s cover of Winston "Mankunku" Ngozi's "Yakhal 'Inkomo" (Pillay was the pianist on Mankunku's original 1968 recording) featuring saxophonists Barney Rachabane and Duke Makasi. The set closes with a nod to the contemporaneous jazz fusion scene with a take on Weather Report's "Birdland" from 1977.

1. Shrimp Boats 25:07
2. Slow Blues For Orial 07:31
3. Yakhal'Inkomo 09:06
4. Birdland 05:50

Personnel on Track 1:
Lionel Pillay - Piano
Basil Coetzee - Tenor Sax
Stompie Manana - Trumpet
Charles Johnstone - Bass
Rod Clark - Drums
- Recorded 12 November 1979

Personnel on Tracks 2, 3, 4:
Lionel Pillay - Piano
Barney Rachabane - Alto Sax
Duku Makasi - Tenor Sax
Sipho Gumede - Bass
Gilbert Mathews - Drums
- Recorded 29 September 1980

Produced by Rashid Vally
Cat. No. MANDLA 001
Original Release 1987
We Are Busy Bodies Reissue 2022