350

Soothsayers Meet The Red Earth Collective: One More Reason

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Soothsayers Meet The Red Earth Collective: One More Reason 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.



One More Reason stays with the program, but this time, as the sleeve art signals, the accent is less on jazz and Afrobeat, and more on reggae and dub. Roots vocalists Johnny Clarke, Michael Prophet, Linval Thompson and Bob Skeng are featured on five tracks, Mad Professor and Nick Manasseh contribute two dub versions, and Manasseh does the mix down. Jamaica and its London diaspora are the album's dominant cultural presences.



So far, so good, if reggae is your thing. The downside is that One More Reason is less of a hybrid than its predecessors, more mono-cultural. This time out, Soothsayers has narrowed its stylistic focus and, disappointingly, is more reverential with its source material: there's plenty of invention around the edges, but less of the band's glorious, trademark miscegenation in the center.



There are, nonetheless, some fine moments. The upbeat "Music" reveals guest keyboardist Zoe Rahman, sister of Soothsayers' co-leader, reed player Idris Rahman, and an acoustic jazz pianist of substance, as a seriously funky electric player. Zoe shines in similar style on "River Effra," Soothsayers' mellow but muscular tribute to ska and the Skatalites, featuring Trevor Edwards' post-Don Drummond trombone. "Mama Said" is the album's sole bona fide F1 hybrid, its insistent little tune shared, incongruously but delightfully, between Bob Skeng and Idris Rahman on bass clarinet. The Michael Prophet showcase, "Tears Of Sorrow," a bleak lament on the consequences of gun culture, has weight and a strong tune, and Nick Manasseh's closing "Tears In Dub" makes the most of both qualities. The album's sole Afrobeat track, "Slow Down," has some exciting work from Idris Rahman on tenor saxophone and the other Soothsayers' co-leader, Robin Hopcraft, on trumpet. "Irie," warmly sung by Mellow Baku, is charming, kind of "Uptown Top Ranking" with a message.



All this adds up to plenty of good music. But the sum, this time, is not greater than its parts.


Track Listing: Intro; We Better Learn; Bad Boys; Slow Down; Tears Of Sorrow; Irie; Hold On; Mama Said; Your Love; River Effra; History; We Must Return To Dub; Tears In Dub.

Personnel: Idris Rahman: saxophone, bass clarinet, vocals; Robin Hopcraft: trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals; Johnny Clarke: vocals (4, 10); Mellow Baku: vocals (7, 8); Michael Prophet: vocals (6); Bob Skeng: vocals (9); Linval Thompson: vocals (12). Collective personnel: Dan Hewson: trombone; Trevor Edwards: trombone; Zoe Rahman: keyboards; Phil Dawson: piano, guitar; Adrian Mackenzie: keyboards; Robert Bailey: keyboards; Lucky Ranku: guitar; Derek Johnson: guitar; Andy Gibson: oud; Kodjovi Kush: guitar, bass; Neville Malcolm: bass; Momo Hafsi: bass; Wesley Johnson: drums; Patrick Illingworth: drums; Frank Tontoh: drums; Adesose Wallace: percussion; Satin Singh: percussion; Crispin Robinson: percussion.

Title: One More Reason | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Red Earth Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Ballet: The Music Of Michael Gibbs CD/LP/Track Review Ballet: The Music Of Michael Gibbs
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 23, 2017
Read Float The Edge CD/LP/Track Review Float The Edge
by John Sharpe
Published: July 23, 2017
Read Resonance CD/LP/Track Review Resonance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 23, 2017
Read Black Focus CD/LP/Track Review Black Focus
by Rokas Kucinskas
Published: July 23, 2017
Read Birdhoused CD/LP/Track Review Birdhoused
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 22, 2017
Read "Ma De Re Sha" CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read "The Art of the Improv Trio Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review The Art of the Improv Trio Volume 1
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 30, 2016
Read "Metal Na Madeira" CD/LP/Track Review Metal Na Madeira
by Jim Trageser
Published: January 6, 2017
Read "Unit[e]" CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Leon" CD/LP/Track Review Leon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 11, 2017
Read "OUTgoing" CD/LP/Track Review OUTgoing
by Budd Kopman
Published: January 31, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!