Soweto to Harlem
Hal Singer Jazz Quartet

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When the U.S. State Department announced in the mid-1970s that they were sponsoring a South African tour for the Oklahoma-born, Paris-based saxophonist Hal Singer, producer Rashid Vally took note. Even though his nascent record label As-Shams/The Sun (established in 1974) was making waves on the local scene, the idea of commissioning a recording from an international artist was a ballsy idea. With a discography that stretched back to the 1950s, Hal Singer was already somewhat of a legacy artist by 1976. Vally was well-versed on Singer’s accomplishments and specifically enamoured by his composition “Blue Stompin’,” which appeared on a Prestige album from 1959 that had struck a chord in South Africa.


With his irresistible charm, Vally managed to coax Singer into a studio in Johannesburg, South Africa, to record a new version of “Blue Stompin’” with South African sax star Kippie Moeketsi, which became the title track of a 1977 album by Moeketsi. The recording session also yielded an album’s worth of new material by Hal Singer and his quartet that took its name from a track inspired by Singer’s trip to South Africa entitled “Soweto to Harlem.” Released in 1976 and only available in South Africa, Soweto to Harlem captures a laid-back, cheeky and nostalgic rhythm and blues set from the Hal Singer Quartet that is unlikely to have emerged for a different target market. 


Afrodelic’s 2024 edition of this rare album is sourced from the original tape masters and presents it on vinyl internationally for the very first time. The reissue follows Singer’s passing at the 100 in August 2020 as we contemplate and celebrate his extraordinary contribution to jazz in the United States and beyond.


Hal Singer – Tenor Sax

Alain Jean-Marie – Piano

August "Gus" Nemeth – Bass

Oliver Johnson – Drums


Lato A: Soweto To Harlem 8:30 / Blues After Six 9:10 

Lato B: The Gospel 5:45 / Always Blues 7:12 / Deacon Johnson 8:10