Swiss saxophone player Mark Hauser and South African saxophone player McCoy Mrubata were introduced to each other in 2000 by prolific sound engineer and booking agent Mark Roth during McCoy’s month’s stay in Basel, Switzerland. The two struck a rapport on contact. McCoy was there to perform across Switzerland with University of Basel students. A result of their 16-year-old friendship has been to realise a Project fusing African and European musical nuances and tastes.
BIOGRAPHY McCoy Mrubata
Saxophonist, flute player, band leader and composer
Born in 1959 in Cape Town’s historic Langa township, South Africa. Reedman McCoy Mrubata grew up with the sounds of African music: the soulful hymns of the Zion Church, the chants and rhythms of traditional healers and the brassy jive of the Merry Macs band who rehearsed opposite his home. When schooling became impossible in the fiery aftermath of the 1976 uprising, the young McCoy then playing flute studied informally under Langa greats like Madoda Gxabeka, Winston Ngozi , the Ngcukanas, Ezra and Duke, Blackie Tempi and Robert Sithole.
By the early 1980s he was playing in cover bands like Fever, Touch , Airborne and Vukani, from there he moved to crossover outfit Louis and the Jive. In 1987 McCoy was spotted by bandleader Sipho Hotstix Mabuse who helped him make Joburg his home. In 1988 he joined PJ Powers band and also that year McCoy was sported by veteran producer Koloi Lebona who offered him a recording deal with a British based record company Zomba Records the same record company had produced music for, amongst others: Jonathan Butler and Billy Ocean. McCoy’s debut album, Firebird was released the following year.
In 1989 he formed Brotherhood, which also included guitarist Jimmy Dludlu pianist Nhlanhla Magagula and Lucas Khumalo and later Moses Molelekwa. In 1990 the band won the Gilbey’s Music for Africa competition , beating top bands like Bayethe , Peto , Stax and Zanusi.
In 1992 he began touring with Hugh Masekela’s Lerapo, alongside Vusi and Bakithi Khumalo , Lawrence Matshiza and the late Moses Molelekwa among others. He also created his own bands, Cape to Cairo and McCoy and Friends. In the mid 1990s, he made the first of a series of albums as leader for the independent Sheer Sound label: Tears of Joy. The personnel of Friends, including pianist Paul Hanmer, bassist Andre Abrahamse and trombonist Jabu Magubane among others have formed a consistent team of collaborators for McCoy. Since those days, more albums have followed: Phosa Ngasemva, Hoelykit, Face the Music which won the 2003 South African Music Award in the Traditional Jazz category and Icamagu Livumile which won the same award in 2005 and Brasskap Sessions Volume 1 won the 2008 award. McCoy also won awards with bands : The Sheer All Stars and Kulturation.
In addition, McCoy has collaborated with a dazzling array of South African jazz players, and with overseas artists such as Airto Moreira and Flora Purim. He has been involved in drama, creating scores for South African productions about journalist Bloke Modisane and saxophone legend Kippie Moeketsi . McCoy also worked In three Norwegian productions ( with Nordic Black Theatre ) : two In 1994/5 In SA and In Oslo on two Bob Marley Musicals and in 2001 starring in play based on the life of John Coltrane “Beyond The Blues” , playing a leading role. He has also created what he calls the Young Friends: a collaboration with the next generation of South African jazzmen.
McCoy’s other projects Include Kulturation a duo-led album with pianist Wessel van Rensburg exploring new interpretations of tunes from the African and Afrikaans communities. This project blends together familiar tunes from the Xhosa and Zulu
cultures with Afrikaans folk music tunes fusing these into contemporary versions of local South Africa music. Vivid Africa, is another collaboration with multi- instrumentalist Greg Georgiadis, using instruments like oudh and bouzouki alongside saxophones to explore the musical spices of the East African coast. McCoy was also a member of a super band Sheer All Stars which consisted of some of the best musicians In SA Jazz : the late Sipho Gumede,Errol Dyers, Paul Hanmer,Frank Pako, Wessel van Rensburg and Louis Mhlanga. They recorded three albums; Indibano, Live at the Blues Room and Dance With Me.
In 2012 McCoy and his long time friend Paul Hanmer released a CD that was recorded live In 2009 at Alte Kirche Boswil, Switzerland during the Kulak Jazz festival.
McCoy was made ambassador for the Angola COCAN 2010 football competition and travelled to Angola with his band to perform and promote the competition.
In January 2011 McCoy and his pianist Luyanda Madope collaborated with Norwegian musicians In project called Indibano and they performed at the Nordic Black Theatre In Oslo.
McCoy also conducted the 2012 South African Youth Jazz Band In June/July that year at the Grahamstown Arts Festival and they also performed In August at the Joy Of Jazz In Newtown JHB South Africa.
In 2012 McCoy was among the top Jazz educators who helped to launch the Jazz Faculty at University Of South Africa and has subsequently conducted workshops and master classes commissioned by the Institution.
In 2014 McCoy went on a successful USA tour with a collaborative band called Uhadi of which he directs. The band comprise of some of SA top Jazz musicians :, Feya Faku , Paul Hanmer , Herbie Tsoaeli and Justin Badenhorst. and guest Sibongile Khumalo.
In June 2014 McCoy release a CD “Brasskap Sessions Volume 2” and went on a national tour promote It.
In 2015 “Brasskap Sessions Volume 2” won the SAMA’s best Jazz Album category. McCoy had a good run In Switzerland from the 26 August to 28 September 2015 at the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club, Basel University and St Gallen playing with three different bands. The Bird’s Eye run was recorded and a double CD , “ McCoy Mrubata Live At The Bird’s Eye Is out now.
McCoy and Uhadi went on a successful US Tour again this year. The tour commenced on 30 March to 18 April 2016
On 30 April 2016’s International Jazz Day 2016 McCoy launched his DVD that was recorded live the same day and for the same occasion in SA 2015 at the Market Theatre.
Biography Mark Hauser
Markus Hauser (born 1971) is a Swiss musician (alto, soprano, tenor, baritone saxophonist, clarinet, transverse flute), band leader, composer and music teacher.
Life and wos
Hauser embarked on his musical career at the age of 15 as a saxophonist. After two years at the St. Gallen Jazz School, he studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston and graduated in 1993 with a major in performance. He spent further years studying with Kenny Garrett, Joe Viola, Hal Crook, George Garzone and Jerry Bergonzi. Furnished with a scholarship, he continued training at New York’s Manhattan School of Music, where he refined his repertoire and became a professional musician. In 2011 he once again spent time studying abroad, in Brazilian Salvador da Bahia. His dealings with South American idioms and jazz improvisations influence his earliest compositions.
As a band leader, Hauser not only realized his own projects, he was also the “side man” in a variety of formations and ensembles. As such he toured with the Swiss big band leader Pepe Lienhard, with Udo Jürgens, Billy Joel, with Brand New Rhythm in Mexico and Europe, and with the Phil Dankner Seat Music Session in Switzerland. Since 1990, he has played with the following artists: Randy Brecker, Chico Freeman,
Clark Terry, Adam Nussbaum, Mark Soskin, Billy Joel, Johnny Vidacovich, Al Porcino, Phil Wilson Big Band, George Garzone, Terry Lynn Carrington, Matt Garrison, Airto Moreira, Lew Soloff, Reggie Hamilton, Buster Williams, Christian Jacob, Danny Gottlieb, Marc Sway, Bligg, Lisa Millett, Seven, Myron, Tanja Dankner, Chinua Hawk, Rolf Stahlhofen (Söhne Mannheims).
Besides his new Album Mark Hauser Quartet “It’s All About The Journey” of his projects as band leader, both Vol. I and II of “Boleros y Tangos”, “There’s a Way out”, “No Joke”, “NuTube” and “A Tribute to Art Pepper” count among his most outstanding creations. Art Pepper, the American alto saxophonist, is one of his idols. “A Tribute to Art Pepper” is both an impression of his intellectual creativity as well as his musical brilliance.
A further project is “NuTube”, presented by Hauser. NuTube is a form of Nu Jazz, which came into being in the mid 1990s in countries including the USA, Mexico, France and Brazil. Hauser takes social trends of this style – as are expressed for example in Herbie Hancock’s Future Shock or by France’s St. Germain – and develops his own musical concept from these. NuTube combines electronic music such as chill out and house with live instrumental music and is characterised by its polyvalent style, rhythm and formations.
In his new Album Mark Hauser Quartet „It’s All About The Journey“ he releases a piece with his favourite music – jazz. This album reflects his journey through jazz – a journey full of crossroads, different compositions and richly coloured improvisational styles; an adventurous, experimental and constantly challenging journey. The Mark Hauser Quartet album, “It’s All About the Journey” is about the musical journey from which the captivating soul of every song emerges, nurtured by the creativity and free improvisation of the carefully selected band members. It is a journey full of true passion for jazz, sensitivity and inspiration.
In addition to his work as a freelance musician, he is also a lecturer and examiner at universities and provides private tuition.
Shaped by jazz from the 1940s and 50s (incl. Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Art Pepper) as well as his time spent studying with Kenny Garrett, George Garzone and Jerry Bergonzi, one of his strong stylistic anchors is embedded in hard bop jazz. His own compositions and solos have gained stylistic expansion through his
time spent studying and on concert tours in Europe and South America. The incorporation and modulation of South American styles is apparent in compositions and arrangements such as both Vol. “Boleros y Tangos”.
“Hauser’s pieces are sensitively and finely composed and arranged”. The artistic identity of Hauser (in addition to his native German, he also speaks English, Spanish and Portuguese) can be described as polystylistic and cosmopolitan. He moves between jazz (swing, be bop, hard bop), South American music and funk, pop and rock. His music is on the one hand lively and full of energy, whilst also being sensitive, charged with emotion and an expression of a true passion for the transcendent.
Hauser developed new mouthpieces for saxophones. During his time spent studying in the USA, the trained toolmaker embarked on research and literature studies in order to develop his own mouthpieces. Together with his brother he has been producing individual pieces aimed at the requirements of saxophonists since 2004. Since 2007, in addition to saxophonists in Europe, musicians such asKenny Garrett and Chico Freeman have also been playing with “hausertone” mouthpieces.