Ayetoro: The Afrobeat Chronicles Vol. 1 (2005)
Founded in 1996 by Funsho Ogundipe, a Yoruba composer, Ayetoro presents a five-track selection of music that combines jazz with Nigerian Afrobeat. Ogundipe plays Fender Rhodes electric piano, writes, and produces. He actually leads two versions of the band: one based in London, the other in Lagos, Nigeria. It's the London ensemble, with a few additional players, that's featured on The Afrobeat Chronicles Vol. 1.
If there's one disappointment about the album, it's that there are only five songs, which breeze through in less than half an hour. Fortunately, that's the worst that can be said. The music is upbeat, joyful, funky, and of course jazzy. All the songs are good, but perhaps the coolest is the one with the most original title: "Revenge of the Flying Monkeys. Some of the sidemen featured on this album are Byron Wallen, trumpet; Linus Bewely, clarinet and soprano sax; Robert Fordjour, drums; and Orefo Orakwue, bass. Whether playing solo or in the background, each brings a sharp performance to the recording. Hopefully, this won't be the last time we hear from Ayetoro.
Visit Ayetoro on the web.
Track Listing: From Benin to Belize, Becklow Gardens (afrofunkycool), Revenge of the Flying Monkeys, Blues 4 the Earth Mother, Yoruba Boyz Club
Personnel: Funsho Ogundipe, Fender Rhodes electric piano; Byron Wallen, trumpet; Robert Fordjour, drums; Linus Bewely, clarinet and soprano sax; Olalkan Babalola, percussion; Ayokunle Odia, tenor sax; Angela Al Hucima, percussion; Orefo Orakwue, Fender jazz bass; Curtis Shaw, guitar