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Spaza, improvised jazz from the South African avant‑garde

Johannesburg-based Mushroom Hour Half Hour imprint drops a series of improvisations from a never-before-assembled group of jazz musicians.

Mushroom Hour Half Hour is decided to establish the South African city as the third point in the new jazz triangle, along with London and Chicago, a concept invented by Emma Warren. The label sees itself as a space for experimentation pushing forward the effusive local jazz scene.

Spaza was recorded in one take in the garden of the SPAZA Art Gallery, by a never-before-assembled group of musicians from Johannesburg. This experimental, DIY approach is characteristic of the label’s vision.

Spaza draws its name from South African informal neighbourhood stores. They became a symbol of entrepreneurial spirit, especially in the country’s black townships, but also a symptom of the socio-economic struggle of its inhabitants. In the same way, this LP is an ode to improvisation and DIY spirit, deeply rooted in South African culture, to which the rhythms, the sounds and the song titles pay tribute to. “Ice Squinchies (Waiting for You)” is a first glimpse into this innovative project.

Spaza, out on Mushroom Hour Half Hour on June 21st. Pre-order it on Bandcamp.

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