The Three Malombo Men

David Max Brown.

South Africa 1999, 52 min.

Jazz is where the intellect, the soul and the feet meet. This film tells the history of a people through the language of a special kind of music: Malombo jazz. It is about its founders, and about the characteristic sound of the African drum blended into the music of jazz. The film takes us through the history of South Africa, focusing on the survival of a joyful spirit without neglecting the country’s tragic past. “The Three Malombo Men” is a touching portrait of the group’s three members, Julian Bahula, Philip Tabane and Albert Abbey Cindi, and appeals not only to jazz enthusiasts. However, one wishes that the filmmaker had dared to tackle the challenge of revealing more thoughts through images. The music is fantastic, and many facets of the South Africa from which it comes are still unknown. One can only hope that more films like this one, about ways of channelling the anger from an inhumane past into a meaningful present, will be made.

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