South Africa’s trumpeter, jazz artist and music legend,Hugh Masekela,
is dead. He died of prolonged prostrate cancer. He was aged 78. His death was announced on Twitter today by South Africa’s minister of arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa.
Masekela was introduced to the trumpet in 1954 when he got it as a gift from another Jazz legend, Louis Armstrong. His classic, Grazing In The Grass, topped the Billboard Hot 100. He was the first African male Grammy nominee (1968).
Masekela fled apartheid South Africa in the early 1960s and did not return for three decades until after the release of Nelson Mandela in 1990.
Some of his greatest hits include “Bring Him Back Home” a song demanding Mandela’s release from prison and “Grazing In The Grass”.
Keeping up his international touring schedule into his 70s with energetic shows, his concerts at home often exploded into sing-alongs.
A teenaged Masekela was handed his first trumpet — and later a Louis Armstrong hand-me-down — through anti-apartheid activist priest Father Trevor Huddlestone.