Johannesburg collective Spaza release eponymous album

    Completely improvised and recorded in one take in 2015.

    Spaza
    Image: Rethabile Ts’eiso-Phakisi

    Four years after a fateful recording session in an art gallery in Johannesburg, improv collective Spaza have finally released the results as an eponymous seven-track album.

    Named after spaza shops, which are informal neighborhood stores found throughout South Africa, the collective have no permanent personnel. The specific group behind this new album Spaza includes upright bassist Ariel Zamonsky and percussionist/vocalist Gontse Makehene, both of whom are members of Shabaka & the Ancestors. The four other musicians and vocalists in the line-up—Nosisi Ngakane, Siya Makuzeni, João Orecchia and Waldo Alexander—bear strong ties to the Johannesburg jazz, funk and soul scenes.

    The group of six improvised and recorded the entirety of Spaza in one take in the garden of SPAZA Art Gallery in Troyeville, Johannesburg. “The day was completely magical,” Ngakane told The Wire. “The musicians created like we had played with each other for years.”

    Stream the album below: