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Soweto To Harlem

AF 1008LP AF 1008LP

When the U.S. State Department announced in the mid-1970s that they were sponsoring a South African tour for the Oklahoma-born, Paris-based saxophonist Hal Singer, producer Rashid Vally took note. Even though his nascent record label As-Shams/The Sun (established in 1974) was making waves on the local scene, the idea of commissioning a recording from an international artist was a ballsy idea. With a discography that stretched back to the 1950s, Hal Singer was already somewhat of a legacy artist by 1976. Vally was well-versed on Singer's accomplishments and specifically enamored by his composition "Blue Stompin'," which appeared on a Prestige album from 1959 that had struck a chord in South Africa. With his irresistible charm, Vally managed to coax Singer into a studio in Johannesburg, South Africa, to record a new version of "Blue Stompin'" with South African sax star Kippie Moeketsi, which became the title track of a 1977 album by Moeketsi. The recording session also yielded an album's worth of new material by Hal Singer and his quartet that took its name from a track inspired by Singer's trip to South Africa entitled "Soweto to Harlem." Released in 1976 and only available in South Africa, Soweto to Harlem captures a laid-back, cheeky and nostalgic rhythm and blues set from the Hal Singer Quartet that is unlikely to have emerged for a different target market.