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Album Review

Justin Thurgur: Many Faces

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Justin Thurgur: Many Faces
London-based trombonist Justin Thurgur is at home in several traditions. He plays contemporary English folk music with the band Bellowhead and Afrobeat with the Afrobeat Orchestra, the ensemble led by keyboard player Dele Sosimi , a childhood protégé of Fela Kuti, who has done more than any other musician to keep the Afrobeat flame alight in Britain.

Thurgur is also a member of keyboard player Kishon Khan's Lokkhi Terra meets Dele Sosimi, who mix Bangladeshi folk music and Cuban rumba and who on 2018's Cubafrobeat (Funkiwala) added Afrobeat to that already vibrant mix.

Most of the members of Bellowhead, the Afrobeat Orchestra and Lokkhi Terra play in two of the bands and several are heard in all three. The same interconnected cast peoples the eighteen-piece collective lineup on Thurgur's Many Faces, the follow-up to No Confusion (Funkiwala, 2016).

The music is sunny, upbeat, funk-infused dance music played with a jazz sensibility, and the band features outstanding soloists in Thurgur, Sosimi, Khan, trumpeter Graeme Flowers, saxophonist Simeon May and bass clarinetist James Allsopp. Ghanaian-born percussionist Afla Sackey—an alumnus of Collocutor, the outernational band led by Afrobeat Orchestra baritone saxophonist Tamar Osborn—is heard on four of the six tracks, two of which, "The Reducation Of Mr Otheralisation" and "Iwa Re Re," are Afrobeat/soul-jazz hybrids cowritten by Thurgur and Sosimi.

Jazz began life as dance music and albums such as Many Faces demonstrate that it is possible to make music that moves listeners to shake a leg while also addressing the head and heart. A perfect soundtrack for what hopefully will be a long hot 2022 summer.

Track Listing

Be A Little Wiser; The Reeducation Of Mr Otheralisation; How It Is; Woman; The Reality Of Reality; Iwa Re Re.

Personnel

Justin Thurgur: trombone; Kishon Khan: keyboards; Dele Sosimi : keyboards; Phil Dawson: guitar; Graeme Flowers: trumpet; Simeon May: saxophone; James Allsopp: saxophone, tenor; Suman Joshi: bass; Tansay Omar: drums; Afla Sackey: percussion.

Additional Instrumentation

Justin Thurgur: trombone, vocals (6), keyboards (4); Sahra Gure: vocals (1); Jade Pybus: vocals (4); Kishon Khan: piano, Rhodes, Hammond organ (1,3-5); Dele Sosimi: piano, vocals (2, 6); Suman Joshi: double bass (1-4, 6); Jimmy Martinez: double bass (5); Afla Sackey: congas (1, 2, 6), shekere, cowbell, vocals (6); Oreste Noda: congas (3, 5); Tansay Omar: drums (1, 3, 4); Kunle Olofinjana: drums (2, 6); Yoann Julliard; drums (5); Evie Hilyer-Ziegler: violin, viola; Paul Sartin: violin.

Album information

Title: Many Faces | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Funkiwala

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