If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.
You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...
Reed player Shamek Farrah ranks with the great unrecorded. Two releases on Strata East in the '70s, some for RA, a release in '95. The reissue of this 1978 recording for RA by Quadraphonic Sound Module reintroduces a roomful of rarely heard musicians, along with a young Malachi Thompson. Roger Howell's congas and Lenny King's percussion give the music a tropical feel, while Saeed Amik's quick luscious piano harmonies blossom all over the music.
The disc opens with the title track. Preceding the '80s African jazz boom, "La Dee La La" features a lush, easygoing composition and arrangement, not unlike Abdullah Ibrahim's gentle Cape Town swing. After a bracing acapella chorus intro, pianist Saeed Amir introduces the chords, Lenny King and Roger Howell hit the hand drums, and Ghanniya Green sings the theme. Guitarist Harry Jenson plays silky rhythm, while Farrah's playful soprano sax composes festive variations. Playing a vocalesque plunger mute, trumpeter Abdullah Khalid makes a soulful statement, followed by Amir's elegant variations.
Moving into a warmer hemisphere, "Waiting for Marvin" sees Amik's effervescent piano dance over the joyously grooving rhythm section. Farrah serves ripe alto, twisting through the changes. Thompson romps his full-toned trumpet around the festive sounds, followed by Amik's cool, refreshing inspirations. The orchestra returns to take it out. Some shuffling on "White Lady" brings Sonelius Smith to the piano chair. Sans percussionists, the band just swings with Farrah taking the first solo. Smith plays chords blocks, as opposed to Amik's blending shimmer. Thompson soars again, casually taking chances. Smith solos with deliberation, poking out the right handed notes.
Jenson's limber electric guitar slyly welcomes the listener to "And Along Came Ron Rahsaan." With King and Howell back, Farrah blows soprano, making way for Marvin Neal's meaty trombone solo. With Vivian Chandler singing wordlessly, Amik builds a final graceful musical lattice.
Thanks to the all-inclusive reissue mania of the CD format, Shamek Farrah and Folks return to delight a new and larger audience, timelessly, almost thirty years later.
Track Listing: La Dee La La Song; Waiting for Marvin; the White Lady; And Along Came Ron Rahsaan.
Personnel: Shamek Farrah, alto sax, soprano sax; Grant Reed, tenor sax; Abdullah Khalid, trumpet;
Malachi Thompson, trumpet; Marvin Neal, trombone; Saeed Amik, piano; Sonelius Smith, piano; Hasan
Jenkins, electric bass; Kiyoto Fujiwara, acoustic bass; Ron Rahsaan, drums; Ayon Falu, drums; Roger
Howell, conga; Lenny King, bongos and percussion; Harry Jenson, guitar; Ghanniya Green, vocal; Vivian
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
We sent a confirmation message to . Look for it, then click the link to activate your account. If you don’t see the email in your inbox, check your spam, bulk or promotions folder.
Thanks for joining the All About Jazz community!