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Chris McGregor


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Christopher McGregor (24 December 1936 – 26 May 1990), was a South African pianist, bandleader and composer.

Chris McGregor was born in Somerset West, Western Cape, where his father, Murray McGregor was teaching at Hottentots’ Holland High School.

Both his father and his mother, Marjorie, were graduates of the University of Cape Town (UCT), where he would later study music.

Two years later the McGregor family moved to the Transkei, a move which pro-foundly influenced Chris’ musical development.

After schooling in the Transkei Chris, who had already at the age of five begun music lessons, went to UCT to read for a B. Mus degree. It was while at UCT that the sounds he had heard in the Transkei came alive in a new way for him as he was exposed to the music of the Cape townships.

Very soon he was paying attention to the likes of “Chris Columbus” Mra Ngcu-kana, “Cup and Saucer” Nkanuka and Dollar Brand (Abdullah Ibrahim) on the local scene, while listening to Charlie Parker, Thelonius Monk and Duke Ellington on records.

While at UCT Chris started to put together groups to play jazz concerts at UCT, as well as jamming in local clubs, like the Ambassador’s, the Vortex, and others. Other names who played on these sessions with Chris were reedman Morris Gold-berg and trombonist Dave Galloway.


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