Chris McGregor was born the son of a Scottish missionary, brought up on church hymns and Xhosa dances. He studied at the Cape Town College of Music and discovered the black jazz scene. His septet played in the 1962 National Jazz Festival, and after founding the Blue Notes in 1963, he led a big band. Harassed by the authorities, they escaped the country through an invitation to the 1964 Antibes Jazz Festival. Fellow expatriate Abdullah Ibrahim helped them find work in Zurich, then at Ronnie Scott's in London and the Café Montmartre in Copenhagen. The Blue Notes mixed South African rhythms with free improvisation, an unprecedented fusion that created a completely original, unmistakable style (In Concert, Vols. 1 & 2, Ogun 1978). McGregor's big band, Brotherhood of Breath, enlarged the Blue Notes with free improvisers (Evan Parker, Trevor Watts, Paul Rutherford).