Jazz: The Tom-Tomcats

Hundreds of shouting, stomping Katangese surged against police lines in Elisabethville during the recent anniversary celebrations of the Congo's three tempestuous years of independence. The Katangese were not rioting against the central government in Leopoldville, they were pushing forward to hear the pulsating rhythms of twelve musicians dressed in frilled scarlet shirts and skintight black pants. It was Africa's favorite native musical group, the O.K. Jazz Band.

The group was formed in 1956 by Francois Luambo, a lean, goateed guitarist who calls himself Franco and lists his nonmusical recreations as "football, women,...

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