While working for the Trigonometry division for the Western Cape Government in 1959, Ian Bruce Huntley began documenting the Cape Town jazz scene in areas such as District Six.
Covering the period 1964 – 1974, the Ian Bruce Huntley Collection opens a window to a little known era of South African music history, documenting an ‘underground’ jazz scene that persisted in creative defiance of all that grand apartheid threw at it.
This previously hidden archive documents accomplished South African jazz musicians pushing the creative envelope and entertaining appreciative audiences.
Many of the musicians Huntley worked with have passed on, and a large number were never afforded the opportunity to record (whilst others remain woefully under-documented). Combined with the loss to exile of yet more key people in the history of jazz in South Africa and the general inaccessibility of records that do exist, this conflation of events and circumstances has left a big dent in our historical understanding and resources. For those students, musicians, scholars, and devotees of South African music who wish to engage with the achievements of a generation of South African jazz musicians the newly found accessibility of the Ian Huntley archive goes a small but invaluable way towards maintaining memory and articulating lost stories.
Write up sourced from Chris Albertyn, Electric Jive and The Lake