Learn How

Help improve All About Jazz

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. For $20, we'll hide those pesky Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

169

Babatunde Lea: Suite Unseen: Summoner of the Ghost

Alain Londes By

Sign in to view read count
Babatunde Lea: Suite Unseen: Summoner of the Ghost An homage to ancestral spirits sets the context for Babatunde Lea's Suite Unseen: Summoner of the Ghost. The drummer/percussionist and educator has created a suite with a unique jazz flavor, complemented by additional musical textures and held together by a spiritual overtone. The stylistic nuances together generate an imaginative piece of music that is unpredictable yet connected at the same time. Quiet simply, it all fits together.

The Suite Unseen is broken up into five separate movements with other interspersed compositions written mainly by the other musicians on the recording. "Ancestral Stroll brings in the listener with a strong percussive bass line by Geoff Brennan, with the rest of the band joining in the summons of the spirits. Who are those spirits? They would include some of Lea's African-American jazz heroes, family members, and other friendly souls.

At one point "Motivation borrows a bit from Freddie Hubbard's "Crisis, and it has the same feel as the bridge. "A Song For Ani is a gentle ballad where each soloist, especially pianist Glen Pearson, contributes few chosen notes equally. "The Bay Area's Afro-Latin Funky Love Shuffle includes all the elements that its descriptive name implies. Saxophonist Richard Howell leads a catchy rendition of James Taylor's "Fire and Rain with an easy beat sustained by Lea and percussionist Kevin Jones. The ending of this tune includes a distinct African vocal component to provide yet another nuance to the song and the recording itself.

Steve Turré is a logical choice as special guest on this recording. On his Sanctified Shells (Antilles, 1993), Turré explored a similar format by creating a split suite entitled "African Shells that also encompassed spiritual calls using colorful instrumentation. "Spirit of the 'Wood', the third movement of Babatunde Lea's suite, unleashes Turré's unique improvisation on the conch shells.

The short vocal piece "Chants from Home, which includes a spiritual "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child, leads the way to the suite's fourth straight-ahead piece, "From Home. In the context of the spiritual call, names of legendary icons such as Miles Davis are called out in the closing Maceo Parker-styled funky movement.

Babatunde Lea's project contains a real eclectic blend of Afro-Cuban-Caribbean rhythms, jazz, and meaning that will connect with jazz fans who enjoy good music that offers interesting surprises but remains accessible.


Track Listing: 1. Suite Unseen: Ancestral Stroll; 2. Motivation; 3. On the T.L.; 4. A Song For Ani; 5. The Bay Area's Afro-Latin Funky Love Shuffle; 6. Invocation; 7. Inconspicuous; 8. Suite Unseen: The Unseen; 9. Fire and Rain; 10. Suite Unseen: Spirit of the 'Wood'; 11. Chants from Home; 12. Suite Unseen: From Home; 13. Maeeah's Big Adventure; 14. Suite Unseen: Summoner of the Ghost.

Personnel: Babatunde Lea: (drums, percussion, vocals, bala fon); Steve Turr: (trombone, conch shells); Richard Howell: (saxophones, vocals, kalimba); Glen Pearson: (piano); Geoff Brennan and Ron Belcher: (acoustic bass); 'Bujo' Kevin Jones: (percussion).

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Motéma Music | Style: Latin/World


Shop

More Articles

Read Hear & Now CD/LP/Track Review Hear & Now
Read Known-Unknown CD/LP/Track Review Known-Unknown
Read Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival CD/LP/Track Review Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival
Read Stinger CD/LP/Track Review Stinger
Read Binary CD/LP/Track Review Binary
Read Piano Song CD/LP/Track Review Piano Song
Read "Chapters Of My Life" CD/LP/Track Review Chapters Of My Life
Read "One for Marian" CD/LP/Track Review One for Marian
Read "The Eighth Hour Of Amduat" CD/LP/Track Review The Eighth Hour Of Amduat
Read "Pasar Klewer" CD/LP/Track Review Pasar Klewer
Read "Live At Umbria Jazz" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Umbria Jazz
Read "Songs From Afar" CD/LP/Track Review Songs From Afar

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Get Jazz Near You via email!

Enjoy the convenience of receiving a comprehensive listing of jazz events in your area every Thursday. It's free!