The Paxton/ Spangler Septet


May 27, 2022

Release: 27th May, 2022

Taking its name from the Zulu word for ‘inspiration’ longtime friends and collaborators Tbone Paxtone and RJ Spangler present ‘‘Ugqozi’  (Eastlawn Records) on 27th May 2022.

Having dedicated decades to studying, performing and celebrating the joyous music of South Africa, the latest manifestation of their passion for the subcontinent is an uplifting collection of music by various well known South African musicians including jazz trumpeter Mongezi Feza, Blue Note pianist Nduduzo Makhathini, and Nigeria’s Fela Kuti. 

The Detroit-based partners have been playing together since the 1970’s, forming their first creative outlet for exploring South Africa’s sound in 1980 with the multi-award winning ensemble ‘The Sun Messengers’ which established them as a cornerstone of the city’s vibrant scene. 

With their latest release, they reassemble their critically acclaimed septet for a collection of songs arranged by Jeff Cuny and guest saxophonist Salim Washington. Together, they give these popular songs refreshingly energetic new treatments through powerful horn solis, interactive musicianship and virtuosic jazz improvisation. 

With the seven piece ensemble at Ugqozi’s core extended by a number of featured guests, the band features a tight rhythm section well-versed in African influenced groove.

The gospel-infused funkiness of pianist Damon Warmack, the propulsive bass playing of Kurt Krahnke and the inspiriting rhythms provided by drummer Sean Perlmutter and percussionist/bandleader RJ Spangler provide a strong and dynamic foundation for the ensemble’s powerful horn section. 

Whether interpreting a well-known melody or collectively building into a cacophony of spiritual sonic exploration, what stands out is the ensemble’s collective love for their craft.


Line up

John ‘Tbone’ Paxton | trombone

RJ Spangler | congas, percussion

Dan Bennett | tenor/alto saxophones

Kasan Belgrave | alto saxophone, flute

Phillip J. Hale | piano

Damon Warmack | bass

Kurt Krahnke | acoustic bass

Sean Perlmutter | drums

Salim Washington | tenor saxophone, oboe, flute

Alex Harding | baritone saxophone

John Douglas | trumpet

Track Listing

You Ain’t Gonna Know Me ‘Cos by Mongezi Feza
Ithemba by Nduduzo Makhathinan
Part of a Whole by Caiphus Semenya
Lwandle’s Lullaby by Salim Washington
Water Get No Enemy by Olufela Olufemi Anikulapo Kuti
Pata Pata by Miriam Makeba and Jerry Rakovoy
Jabulani – Easter Joy by Abdulla Ibrahim



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