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Paying tribute to the legendary jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela

Hugh Masekela 1

Town Hall Symphony Hall were extremely saddened to hear the news that legendary jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela, who has performed at both venues on numerous occasions, passed away on Tuesday. His family said he "passed peacefully" after a long but courageous battle with cancer. 

Vividly portraying the struggles, sorrows and passions of life in apartheid South Africa during the 1960s, Masekela left the brutality, oppression and racial segregation behind for a life in America. He soon shot to stardom with a little help from international friends Yehudi Menuhin, John Dankworth and Harry Belafonte and with his distinctive Afro-Jazz sound he soon gained global recognition.

Among his performances in Birmingham Hugh appeared at Symphony Hall in 2010 with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

One of our regular photographers Jason Sheldon reminisced on his visit in the below Instagram post, touching on Hugh's undeniable charm. For this particular performance at Symphony Hall he performed Jason Yarde’s Flugelhorn Concerto as well as a new composition written for the Town Hall Gospel Choir.

I had the pleasure of photographing the Legendary South African trumpeter, Hugh Masekela (@HughMasekela) back in 2010 during an interview to promote a series of concerts presented by @THSH_Birmingham He was a charming man, who didn’t suffer fools gladly.. I’m incredibly sad to hear of his passing today, aged 78. He is pictured here, taken on 4 May, 2010, resting in the Members Room at Birmingham and Midlands Institute before rehearsals. He performed with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Town Hall Gospel Choir at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall on Friday 7 May, 2010. Jason Sheldon/Junction10 Photography … … … @music @officialfstoppers #fstoppers #potd #musica #instamusic #livemusic #musician #Canon #ConcertPhotography #RockNRoll #musicphotography #GigPhotography #LivePhotography #Editorial #BandPhotography #MusicPhotographer #IGLightbulbs #CanonUK #MyCanon #hughmasekela
A post shared by Jason Sheldon (@junction10.photography) on

Hugh more recently performed at Town Hall in 2013 with American jazz pianist and composer Larry Willis. THSH's Artistic Advisor to the Jazzlines project Tony Dudley-Evans had fond memories of seeing Hugh perform, including his performance in Birmingham at The Triangle in 1983. 

In a career spanning six decades, Hugh's music proved a constant reminder of his love for South Africa - a country whose political turmoil once forced his move to the states. Hugh Masekela was an inspiration to many and one of the truly legendary musicians THSH have had the pleasure of hosting.

Hugh Masekela