Masekela took that advice with his 1963 album Trumpet Africaine. From there, he moved to Los Angeles and his career took off: His 1968 single “Grazing in the Grass” hit #1 on the U.S. pop charts, and he collaborated with legendary artists, including Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and Fela Kuti. His recording of “Grazing in the Grass” was inducted to the Grammy Hall of Fame last year.
Google is celebrating South African jazz legend and activist Hugh Masekela on what could have been his 80th birthday.
Masekela expired in January 2018 from prostate cancer.
Masekela returned to South Africa in 1990 after some 30 years in exile. He saw Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, and election as South Africa’s first black president — just a couple of years after the release of his tune “Bring Him Back Home (Nelson Mandela). ” Fittingly, Masekela’s music was the soundtrack into the event, based on Google.
Masekela landed on his feet, moving to New York City and registering at age 21 from the Manhattan School of Music. Inspired by town ’s jazz scene and the music of John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Mingus and Max Roach, Masekela started to work on his own audio — and took advice from Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong, who encouraged him to develop a unique style that incorporated his African American heritage.
Thursday’s Google Doodle pays tribute to Masekela, who was born in Witbank, South Africa and obtained his musical start early, when he had been a part of the Jazz Epistles, South Africa’s all-black jazz band to record a record, NPR reports. As the members of the Jazz Epistles were banished from South Africa from the country ’ s apartheid authorities but the moment was short-lived.