STEVE DYER - Southern Freeway (1991)

Soul Brothers/Gramma, SMH1
Producer: Steve Dyer
Engineer: Peter van Deventer
Recorded at: Frontline Studios

Born in Pietermaritzburg in 1960, Steve Dyer studied sax and flute at the University of Natal. Refusing military conscription, he left South Africa and lived in Botswana for five years in the 80s, where he came into contact with exiled legends Hugh Masekela and Jonas Gwangwa. As part of Gwangwa's group Shakawe for three years, he immersed himself in both mbaqanga and jazz. In 1988 after a stint in the UK he settled in Zimbabwe, where he formed the group Southern Freeway. They put out two albums, Southern Freeway, a great collection of modern, distinctly South African jazz, followed by Indlela yenkululeko (1992). The band continued to perform into the 90s, representing South Africa  at the SADC music festival in Harare and playing at Arts Alive in Johannesburg in 1996.

Outside Southern Freeway, Dyer is a prolific performer, composer, producer and director bridging traditional African genres, classical and jazz. In 1990 he joined the ANC's Amandla cultural ensemble on a seven week tour of Japan. With democracy on the horizon in 1993 Dyer returned to SA in 1993, settling in Joburg and working with the Soweto String Quartet. He formed the Southern African collaborative project Mahube that toured the world and released two albums, including the Kora-winning Qhubeka (2003). He has also produced five albums by Zimbabwean legend Oliver Mtukudzi (including the hit Tuku Music), leads the ensembles Rebirth and Ubuntu Music and runs independent label Dyertribe Music.