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Album Review

Soothsayers: Soothsayers Meets Victor Rice & Friends

Read "Soothsayers Meets Victor Rice & Friends" reviewed by Chris May

Nobody does it better, so the song goes, though whether the innuendo resonates most strongly with the singer, Carly Simon, or the lyrics's supposed protagonist, James Bond, depends, as it were, on the direction in which the listener is pointing. But whatever. In the context of Soothsayers Meets Victor Rice & Friends, the song's hook becomes a strapline for the deep-strata musical blend of cultures and ethnicities which London seems to do more convincingly than any other city in the ...

Album Review

Soothsayers: Tradition

Read "Tradition" reviewed by Chris May

To describe London's Soothsayers as a group of jazz musicians who get together to play a blend of roots reggae and Afrobeat is true--but potentially misleading. It could suggest that the musicians are taking time out from serious music-making to engage in something more ephemeral, of lesser importance. The truth is contrariwise. First off, roots reggae and Afrobeat are as intrinsically profound as jazz. Second, although Soothsayers have a lot of fun doing what they do--along with their audiences, for ...

Album Review

Soothsayers Meet The Red Earth Collective: One More Reason

Read "One More Reason" reviewed by Chris May

It's been four years since the release of Soothsayers' last album, the masterpiece Tangled Roots (Red Earth, 2005), but it seems like yesterday. A turbulent mash-up of jazz, Afrobeat, dub and funk, the disc still blows through the speakers like a fresh gale, coursing out of the vibrant, multi-cultural, south London milieu, centered around Brixton, which is Soothsayers' stamping ground. Tangled Roots was the band's second album, following Lost City (Red Earth, 2001), another rough diamond, with a shared ambiance. ...

Album Review

Soothsayers: Tangled Roots

Read "Tangled Roots" reviewed by Chris May

In the years since Fela Anikulapo Kuti's death--and truth be told, for longer than that, because Kuti's music was increasingly overwhelmed by personal problems from the late-1980s on--it has seemed more and more unlikely that we would ever hear top-dollar, flowering-top, kick-the-door-in Afrobeat again.

The golden age of the music was roughly 1973-76, when Kuti recorded a whole string of iconic albums (Gentleman, Alagbon Close, Expensive Shit, Johnny Just Drop, Everything Scatter, Yellow Fever, Zombie, Kalakuta Show) which he never ...

Album Review

Various Artists: A Traditional Jazz Christmas

Read "A Traditional Jazz Christmas" reviewed by Robert Spencer

An eclectic lineup of heavyweights makes this Christmas collection worth more than passing notice: Louis Armstrong, Mel Torme, Kenny Burrell, Lionel Hampton, Ahmad Jamal, Gene Ammons...let's hear a nice round of applause also for Al Hibbler, Ramsey Lewis, Les Brown, Peggy Lee, and Soulful Strings. Everyone sounds just fine enough on this CD to make great background music for the holidays; at the same time, there are a few standouts.

Pops, for one, is tops. “Christmas in New Orleans" and ...

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Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Wah Wah 45s


One More Reason

Red Earth Records


Blinded Souls

Unknown label


Tangled Roots

Red Earth Records


Human Nature

Red Earth Records



Oneness of Juju
band / ensemble / orchestra
Fela Kuti
Seun Kuti

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