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Mombelli, Carlo (South Africa)  
Carlo Mombelli

In the early eighties Carlo started his music career in the band of JOHNNY FOURIE together with DUKE MAKASI and KEVIN GIBSON as well as forming his own original music group ABSTRACTIONS recording for Shifty Records.

In 1987 he moved to Germany where he recorded and performed around the world with musicians like EGBERTO GISMONTI, CHARLIE MARIANO, MICK GOODRICK and LEE KONITZ amongst many others. Besides having a teaching post at the RICHARD-STRAUSS-CONSERVATIORE in Munich, he was a featured artist many times on German national radio that broadcast his entire live concerts over the air. Carlo has six solo recordings and has worked on major record labels like ENJA records.

Since returning to South Africa in 1999, Carlo has and still performs at all the major festivals around the country with his group THE PRISONERS OF STRANGE, with Siya Makuzeni on voice and trombone, Jessica Bailey on the cello, Marcus Wyatt, trumpet, radio and soundscapes, Sydney Mnisi on soprano and tenor saxophone and Lloyd Martin on the drums. This ensemble recorded the CD “WHEN SERIOUS BABIES DANCE" in 2002 for the label Instinct Africaine.

Carlo can be heard on the South African recordings of MARCUS WYATT, SIBONGILE KHUMALO, TLALE MAKHENE, SIMPHIWE DANA, TONY COX as well as JOHNNY FOURIE’s solo, duet, trio.

bass guitar
Genre: jazz, African Jazz, fusion
In 2001 The ballet LISTEN WITH YOUR EYES SHUT, choreographed to Mombelli’s music was performed at the Dance Umbrella in the Hague Holland. In 2002 he was commissioned to compose the music “Observations from the hideout" for the STOCKHOLM SAX QUARTET and in 2003 was commissioned to compose music for the 1943 silent film ´Meshes in the afternoon` by Maya Deren which he performed live to film at the 2003 Grahamstown arts fest.

In 2004, besides composing music for a number of documentaries including the ROADS TO RESTITUTION and STORY OF A BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY, he was the 2004 COMPOSER IN RESIDENCE at WITS UNIVERSITY where he is completing his DOCTORATE in composition. Besides composing music and conducting for ZIM NGQAWANA’s 45-piece orchestra, he also leads the Standard Bank 2004/05 NATIONAL YOUTH JAZZ ENSEMBLE.

Upcoming releases in 2005 include a DVD of the Prisoners of Strange “LIVE AT FORT WEST" (Melt), a new CD “THE PRISONERS OF STRANGE - NOT SO STRANGE"(Instinct Africaine), as well as the release of the first of his 3 book contract with STD Publishers on the ARTISTRY OF BASS IN IMPROVISED MUSIC. Carlo is currently composing music for the 27 part animation film “THE DEVOLUTIONARIES"


1. John Davies ´Rare earth ensemble' - Now and Forever 1987 (LP) (SABC Transcription service)
2. Lionel Martin Pillay - 1987 (produced by Ray Phiri)
3. Offer Singer - (American guitar compilation) 1992
4. Antonio Koudeli - Bird Fly 1993 (BSC music)
5. Vum Vum Kamusasadi - MuzAngola 1993 (BMG Ariola)
6. Gents - 1993
8. Barbara Dennerlein - Wow 1996
9. Antonio Koudeli - Kaleidoscope 1996 (BSC music)
10. Raiz de Pedra and Egberto Gismonti - Diario de Bordo 1996 (Enja records)
11. Vusi Thusi - Qhubeka 1997
12. Igor Flach - Angeschmiert 1997 (Hammond)
13. SPOF with Sabina Scuibba - Babylon Fish 1998 (Kröling Kommunikation)
14. The Velvet Blues Orchestra - Memories of a Spanish city 1998 (Dionysos records)
15. Sprechzeit - 1998 (NRW records 2002)
16. Martin Kälberer with Urna Chahar Tugchi - 1997 Olwe Weida
17. Erhard Dietl - Sonne im kopf - 1998
18. Zollsound 4 with lee Konitz - Open hearts 1998 (Enja records)
19. Marcus Wyatt - Gatherings 2000 (Sheersound)
20. Sibongile Khumalo - Immortal secrets 2000 (Sony)
21. Zollsound Chamber Ensemble - Songs closer to silence 2002 (Enja records)
22. Tony Cox - China 2002 (Instinct Africaine)
23. Johnny Fourie - solo, duet & trio 2002 (Instinct Africaine)
24. Nibs van der Spy ‘Hadeda' - 2004 (Rhythm records)
25. Tlale Makhena ‘The ascension of the enlightened, 2004 (Gallo records)
26. Simpiwe Dana - ‘Zandisile', 2004 (Gallo records)
27. Jonathon Crossely - (release 2005)


Composes music for Khalo Matebane’s new film “CONVERSATIONS ON A SUNDAY AFTERNOON"
The ballet dance SURDO choreographed by Siphiso Kweyama with music by Mombelli is performed in HELSINKI in May.
Carlo’s piece ‘Observations from the hideout' for saxophone quartet is one of four South African works chosen by the ISCM for submission to the international jury in Stuttgart, Germany for 2005
Carlo plays on MIRIAM MAKEBAS’s new CD due for release at the end of 2005
Carlo plays on MARCUS WYATT’S new Cd due for release at the end of 2005


1. ´Abstractions` - On the other side 1986 (Shifty)
2. Carlo Mombelli and Abstractions`- Abstractions 1988 (ITM Westwind)
3. Carlo Mombelli and Charlie Mariano - Happy Sad 1992 (ITM Pacific)
4. Carlo Mombelli and Abstractions - Dancing in a Museum 1996 (ITM Pacific)
5. Carlo Mombelli and the Prisoners of Strange - Bats in the Belfry 1997 (Baobab art records)
6. Carlo Mombelli and the Prisoners of Strange - When serious babies dance. (Instinct Africaine)
7. The Prisoners of Strange - Not so strange (due for release 2005)
8. The Prisoners of Strange - Live at Fort West (Melt 2000) due for release 2005
Still due for release
9. ´Abstractions`, the unreleased tapes of 1986 (Instinct Africaine)


1. Basstorius - Marathon Runner - 1993 (Hotwire records)
2. K & M Collection - Espaco 1995 (CKM)
3. Afribeat - Requiem 2001
4. Live from the New Music Indaba - Contemporary SA Composers 2001
5. Jazz Brew Vol. 1 - Requiem 2002 (Sheersound)
6. Capetown 2am - Basstido 2002 (Sheersound)
7. Soweto Blues - On the other side 2004 (Sheersound)
8. Oppikoppi 10 Jazz - with Johnny Fourie 2004 (Sheersound)


1. Thomas Reimers jazz ensemble - Bayerischer Rundfunk 24-6-1990
2. Antonio Koudeli & Grupo De Bossa Nova - Bayerischer Rundfunk 29-6-1993
3. Carlo Mombelli’s ABSTRACTIONS - WDR German radio April 1993
4. Carlo Mombelli’s Prisoners of Strange –Bayerischer Rundfunk - July 1996
5. Raiz De Pedra - Bayerischer Rundfunk November 1996
6. Carlo Mombelli’s Jobless - Live in the Feierwerk - Bayerischer Rundfunk - April 1998
7. Waddy Jones/ Carlo Mombelli/ Ian Herman - ´Live at the Bassline` - April 2000, SAFM radio

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