Siya Makuzeni - voice and trombone
Sydney Mnisi - saxophone
Jessica Bailey - cello
Marcus Wyatt - trumpet
Carlo Mombelli - basses and real time loops
Lloyd Martin - drums

MENU 1 Live at the Fort West Village Heritage & Cultural Festival in Tshwane South Africa on the 24th of October 2004



Extract from Mick Raubenheimer's article on the Fort West Festival:

"Back at the Dutch Reformed church we got ready for Carlo Mombelli's Prisoners of Strange performance. The anticipation was palpable.
For tonight's performance Carlo had extended his usual four-piece to include a cellist and saxophonist.
The set's opening is dramatic, with flaring tango-esque melodies, and sets the tone for the evening: hectically busy but fed with a thick, loose groove. Introducing at least two new compositions and reworking released material the set consistently surprises the rapt audience.
'Untitled Prayer', the only 'straight' tune off 2000's 'Bats in the belfry', gets opened up for a slow jam led by Markus Wyatt's trumpet, while the following composition improvises over a reversed bass-loop, Mombelli playing a complex burst of bass which is fed into a loop and played back in reverse (don't even ask!): the effect is a hip-hop riff from Mars which the horns overlay with free Ornette Coleman-ish dialogues.
The complex, careening machine is concluded by an ambient otherwordly whistling - the bandmembers swinging coloured tubes at varying speeds above their heads.
After eleven highly-involved compositions the set is rounded of with a sparce, atmospheric piece after which the listeners applaud Mombelli into an encore, the title track to 2003's 'When serious babies dance'.
And dance they did."

Track Listing 

1. Bass Spirit 10:15
2. Sunlove 5:38
3. Untitled Prayer 5:11
4. Ethical Sun 6:42
5. Malunde (Street Child) 7:24
6. Zambezi 2:22
7. Trance by Chance 5:30
8. Dear Music lover 5:34
9. The procession march of King Ferds the 3rd 8:00
10. Surdo 7:30

All compositions by Carlo Mombelli published by Mombelli Publishing
MENU 2 Talking to Carlo Mombelli Bassist/ composer Carlo Mombelli was born in Pretoria, South Africa in 1960. He started playing bass at the age of 16 after studying classical piano. 7 years later, one of South AfricaÙs most important jazz guitarist Johnny Fourie asked him to join his band together with Duke Makazi on saxophone and Kevin Gibson on drums. In 1985 Carlo started the group Abtractions to play his music and asked Johnny Fourie to play in the band. They recorded for Shifty records.
Carlo has since recorded and performed around the world with amongst others, Egberto Gismonti, Lee Konitz, Mick Goodrick, Barbara Dennelien and Charlie Mariano. He also contributed and played music on the recording tribute for Jaco Pastorius, BasstoriusÙ together with Carles Benavent, Dave La Rue and Mathew Garrison. In 1998 and 99 he held a teaching post at the Richard-Strauss Conservatoire in Munich.
In Johannesburg where Carlo resides, he was Composer-In-Residence at Wits University in 2004 and can also be heard on many South African recordings including Marcus Wyatt, Johnny Fourie, Tlale Makhene, Simphiwe Dana, Sibongile Khumalo and Miriam Makeba. Many ballets have been choreographed to Carlo's music with performances in Johannesburg, the Hague, as well as in Denmark and the Ramallah Dance festival. His composition commissions include amongst others 'Observations from the hideout commissioned by the Stockholm Saxophone Quartet and music for the 1943 silent film 'Meshes in the afternoonÙ by Maya Deren which he performed live to film at the 2003 Grahamstown Arts Festival. He has composed music for many films, written books published by STE publishing and has recorded seven CDs of his own works. Carlo is currently completing his Doctorate in composition at Wits University, Johannesburg due by the end of February 2007.


Siya Makuzeni - from East London, South Africa. Only 24 years old and she has already made a name for herself on the South African music scene, having recorded and performed with nearly every jazz giant in the country. Her improvisational skills are unbelievable and unique. Her influences being Ursula Dulziak, Flora Purim and Ella Fitzgerald. In 2006 she was one of six young musicians selected from around the world, that were invited to spend a few month at the creative works establishment Fabrika, in Italy studying free improvisation. Currently working with her own group Siya also tours with MELT signed group Vivid Afrika featuring Greg Georgiades and McCoy Mrubata.

Marcus Wyatt hails from Port Elizabeth, South Africa. A graduate of the School of Music at the University of Cape Town, Marcus has performed with all the major jazz musicians in South Africa including Bheki Mseleku, Paul Hanmer, Louis Mhlanga Sibongile Khumalo, Abdullah Ibrahim, Winston Mankunku, Vusi Mahlasela Miriam Makeba, and Morris Goldberg as well the internationals Manu Dibango, Walter Bishop Jnr, James Morrison, Courtney Pine and Andy Sheppard. Marcus has released three albums under his own name.

Sydney Mnisi from Thembisa, South Africa has also performed and recorded with almost every leading South African Jazz musician, including Hugh Masekela, Abdullah Ibrahim, Bheki Mseleku and many others. Sydney is a highly versatile musician who works regularly in Holland as part of the South Africa/ Netherlands musical collaborations and extensively on the local performing and recording circuit.


Lloyd Martin was born in Cape Town, South Africa. He brings a sound to the ensemble inspired by his earlier musical activities with the top South African punk band the Cherry Faced Lurchers and folk musician Jennifer Ferguson. Besides also working in jazz circles with Johnny Fourie, Darius Brubeck and Sibongile Khumalo he has been a full time session musician for the last 20 years.




Director Video: Lianne Cox
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Cameras: Lianne Cox, LuNgelo Ndlela, Vincent De Jager

Sound Engineer: recording, mixing and mastering by Chris Lewis London UK
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Assistant Engineer: Kholofelo Sewale

Executive Producer: Robert Trunz

Special thanks to Jean Bourdin and François Chambraud of Alliance Française in Pretoria, Jean for the choice of music and François all our respect for picking up the many loose ends and making the event a full success for the musicians.
Bénédicte Alliot, IFAS (Institut Français d'AS) for her kind support,
Bernard Malauzat from the French Embassy in South Africa for generously supporting the project, the director of the Fort Festival Village Foundation Mrs. Linda Mvusi and Xavier PersonÙs crew of helpers and assistants.

Very special thanks to all the creators of the beautiful music we recorded and filmed and to all other artists, poets, film- as well as the technical crew and the dedicated audience who feasted on the art presented.
Respect to our team of highly creative magicians. Thanks Lianne for your camera work, editing and transforming this music video into a work of art. Thumbs up and my personal Grammy to our sound genius Chris Lewis for performing sonic miracles . A special cheers and thanks for being there whenever I need to the steady handed team of cameramen Vincet de Jager and Lungelo.
Thanks to the creator for letting us witness more roots of beautiful Acoustic Jazz in South Africa.
Robert Trunz