Reggie Msomi

Reggie Msomi

Mbaqanga may have paid the bills, but for Reggie Msomi and quite a few other talented 1970s South African musicians, jazz and soul were their first love. A relatively small buying public meant that some strong music was being overlooked by the record companies. With a big reputation in the industry as a consumate musician, talent scout, band-leader, writer, arranger and producer, Msomi managed to record this eclectic and now rare collection of his own soul, jazz and even marabi-tinged compositions – recorded as a Mavuthela Production two weeks before the Soweto uprisings in June 1976. Do yourself a favour – sit down and listen to “Swing Africa”, or better still, stand up and Swing Africa - some jazz, lots of soul, but essentially South African!

Reggie Msomi formed and led the Hollywood Jazz Band in 1962. He wrote scores of hits for big stars, including Miriam Makeba. One of his bands' own hits that has endured in current compilations is "Midnight Ska", a great sixties ska number which can be downloaded here. In the early seventies Msomi was also band leader of the Flying Jazz Queens, a popular Mbaqanga group.

From the back cover:
“Reggie was born at Frankland KwaQwabe the Ngunis, along the South Coast, Port Shepstone, Natal. He grew up like all other African Boys, first herded cattle then went to school. He started his music career at an early age, when he made his own guitar with a gallon tin a wooden handle and three ordinary wire strings. He was only ten years of age when he was playing his hand-made guitar, entertaining beer-drinking older men. In 1953 Reggie left Natal for Johannesburg seeking work in the gold mines as a male nurse in the mine hospital.

“He bought himself an electric guitar whilst employed by the mines. After a year’s service he left the mines and worked for the Turf Club as a groom boy. There he played for the people of Magaba Njegabane.

“The following year he joined a recording company known as RCA where he met people like Chuks Chukudu, bass player; Stanford Tsiu, guitarist; Christopher Songxaka on tenor saxophone. Later he joined Gallo Africa where he made best-selling records composed by himself, some of them he recorded with famous stars like Miriam Makeba, Manhattan Brothers, Lemmy Special Mabaso; The Sky Larks and the late Spokes Mashiyane.

“Most of the songs played by Spokes were composed by Reggie who also played a guitar. They were then under talent scout, the late Sam Alcock. In 1960 Reggie was now playing a saxophone. He then recorded a song titled “Dinner Time Twist” which he composed. In 1962 he was appointed as a talent scount for Gallo Africa. During the same year he formed his own band known as the “Hollywood Jazz Band” which took part in the Batfire Trade Fair in South Africa. In 1965 he toured Rhodesia and Zambia with his band. In 1966 he joined Mr R. Bobpape together with the Mahotella Queens and Makgona Tsohle Band.

“Between 1970 and 1974 he was on his own doing his works at his house until he recorded an album entitled “Bump to Bump”. Through thick and thin he is taking us to the heart of Africa with this fantastic album.”
In Groups:


Reggie Msomi Discography Tracks


NSL 1007 Reggie Msomi Twisting With Reggie Msomi(LP, Album) New Sound (4) NSL 1007 South Africa 1962 Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

XPD 2095 Reggie Msomi Butterfly(12") Gallo Records XPD 2095 South Africa 1976 Sell This Version


NSL 1005 Spokes* And Reggie* Spokes* And Reggie* - Best Of Spokes And Reggie(LP, Comp) New Sound (4) NSL 1005 South Africa 1961 Sell This Version