493

The Red Earth Collective featuring Soothsayers Horns: Red Earth Dub

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
The Red Earth Collective featuring Soothsayers Horns: Red Earth Dub London's Red Earth Collective and the associated band, Soothsayers, have much in common with New York's Akoya Afrobeat Ensemble. Both aggregations mix Afrobeat, dub and jazz to create a modern urban style. Both have included veteran Jamaican musicians on their albums—Red Earth / Soothsayers featured singers Johnny Clarke and Linval Thompson on its previous disc, One More Reason (Red Earth, 2009), and Akoya featured the great tenor saxophonist Cedric Im Brooks on its most recent set, P.D.P. President Dey Pass (Afrobomb Music, 2008). Both are composed of multi-ethnic musicians with broad age differences. Both have sizeable followings in the communities in which they are based—the Londoners in Brixton, the New Yorkers in Brooklyn.



There are differences of emphasis between the groups. Akoya plays Afrobeat with reggae flurries and extended passages of jazz-based soloing; Red Earth / Soothsayers favors dub and "conscious" reggae with Afrobeat flurries and shorter tracks with necessarily briefer solo passages. When the Londoners do focus on Afrobeat, as on the YouTube clip of "Blinded Souls" below, they're magnificent.



Red Earth Dub, being mainly instrumental, is something of a return to Soothsayers' Tangled Roots (Red Earth, 2006) by way of One More Reason. "Bad Boys Dub," "Can't Live Without It (Music)," "Dubirie" and "River Effra Dub" are versions of tracks from the second album, mixed by London dub producer Manasseh. There's also a Manasseh dub of "Never Give Up" from Tangled Roots. Afrobeat gets less of a look-in, but the closing "Dub Africa" is an outstanding reading of Fela Anikulapo Kuti's "Africa," with contributions from the charismatic Afrobeat singer and percussionist Adeose Wallace and with the Soothsayers Horns in fighting Afrika 70 form. "Benin City Dub" also has an explicitly West African flavor, through its rhythms and its use of bata drums.



Red Earth Dub is an inventive and uplifting album, but the feeling lingers that Red Earth / Soothsayers discs would be even stronger if they contained more, and longer, passages of improvisation. In trumpeter Robin Hopcraft, saxophonist Idris Rahman and keyboards player Zoe Rahman (Idris' sister) the band includes three A-Grade jazz instrumentalists. They shine in their short solo breaks and it would be good to hear each of them stretch out more. The inclusion of violinist Samy Bishai on "Hard Times Dub," an imaginative embrace of Gypsy-like soloing and a lush (overdubbed) string section, is an example of what is, perhaps, the magic ingredient missing elsewhere.



But that is to cavil. The world needs more Red Earth / Soothsayers discs and the likelihood is that the band will in due course come up with the landmark album that is stirring inside it.

Track Listing: Intro; Bad Boys Dub (Manasseh Remix); Can't Live Without It (Music); Hard Times Dub; Benin City Dub; Heavymore; We Better Dub; The Brixton Pound; Dubirie; Melodical Medicine (Interlude); Never Give Up (Manasseh Dub Remix); River Effra Dub; Can't Slow Down (Interlude); Dub Africa.

Personnel: Robin Hopcraft: trumpet; Idris Rahman: soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone; Zoe Rahman: keyboards (1, 3, 4, 6-9, 12, 14); Dan Hewson: trombone (10); Trevor Edwards: trombone (12); Adrian Mackenzie: keyboards (3, 4, 7, 10); Robert Bailey: keyboards (9); Derek Johnson: guitars (2, 3, 7, 9, 10, 12-14); Phil Dawson: guitar (5, 9, 11-14); Andy Gibson: oud (11); Samy Bishai: violin (4); Koojovi Kush: bass (3, 4, 7, 12-14); Momo Hafsi: bass (5, 10); Neville Malcolm: bass (9); Westley Joseph: drums (3, 4, 7; Frank Tontoh: drums (9); Phil Dawson: drums (5, 9, 11); Patrick Illingworth: drums, hi-hats (12-14); Satin Singh: percussion (2, 5, 9, 13, 14); Richard Ajileye: percussion (2); Crispin Robinson: percussion (3, 4, 7).

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Red Earth Records | Style: Funk/Groove


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Circles CD/LP/Track Review Circles
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2017
Read Windmills CD/LP/Track Review Windmills
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 24, 2017
Read Ugly Beautiful CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beautiful
by David A. Orthmann
Published: March 24, 2017
Read Trickster CD/LP/Track Review Trickster
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 24, 2017
Read Caipi CD/LP/Track Review Caipi
by Geannine Reid
Published: March 24, 2017
Read United CD/LP/Track Review United
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 23, 2017
Read "Left" CD/LP/Track Review Left
by John Sharpe
Published: November 22, 2016
Read "Yellow Red Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Yellow Red Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 2, 2016
Read "Happy" CD/LP/Track Review Happy
by Budd Kopman
Published: April 29, 2016
Read "Oblique Mirrors" CD/LP/Track Review Oblique Mirrors
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 9, 2016
Read "Summergold Promises" CD/LP/Track Review Summergold Promises
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 10, 2016
Read "Checkpoint" CD/LP/Track Review Checkpoint
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 16, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: DOT TIME RECORDS | BUT IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!