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Fela's First

Label: Cadillac Records
Released: 2020
Track listing: Side One: Fela’s Special; Aicana. Side Two: Highlife Rakers Calypso No. 1; Wa Ba Mi Jo Bosue.

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Fela Ransome Kuti & His Highlife Rakers: Fela's First

Read "Fela's First" reviewed by Chris May

Lost recordings released for the first time! First, the back story.... In 1958, aged 19, Fela Kuti left the highlife scene in Lagos, Nigeria, where he was on the first steps of a career as a trumpeter, and travelled to London. His mother hoped he would enrol in medical school, as his late father ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids: Shaman!

Read "Shaman!" reviewed by Chris May

California-based tenor saxophonist and composer Idris Ackamoor, who has one foot in magical realism and the other in the politicised school of spiritual-jazz, relaunched his 1970s band the Pyramids in 2015. A year later, the group released the acclaimed We Be All Africans, which was followed in 2018 by the equally noteworthy An Angel Fell (both ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Bloto: Erozje

Read "Erozje" reviewed by Chris May

Look closely and the sleeve art resembles a painting by Ghariokwu Lemi for one of Fela Kuti's 1970s albums with Afrika 70. In the foreground, policemen beat citizens to the ground. In the background, another policeman leads someone off to a paddy wagon. Only the policemen's mobile phones locate the scenario in more recent times. Could ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Tony Allen & Hugh Masekela: Rejoice

Read "Rejoice" reviewed by Chris May

"Unfinished" is the kindest word to describe this album, recorded in 2010 and left on the shelf until its release was prompted after Hugh Masekela passed in 2018. It should have stayed on the shelf. The album consists of eight tracks of noodling by Masekela, accompanied by autopilot timekeeping from Tony Allen, who ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Etuk Ubong: Africa Today

Read "Africa Today" reviewed by Chris May

Lagos-based Etuk Ubong is part of a long line of fiery, Afrobeat-rooted, hard bop-influenced trumpeters which stretches back to Tunde Williams, who was in the 1960s a founder member of Fela Kuti's seminal band, Africa 70. Kuti's legacy figures large in Ubong's music, which he styles “earth music" and which is characterised by urgent tempos, powerful ...

New Jazz From London: Top 20 Paradigm Shifting Albums

Read "New Jazz From London: Top 20 Paradigm Shifting Albums" reviewed by Chris May

After a lifetime trying to get on an equal footing with its American parent, British jazz has finally come of age. Since around 2015, a community of young, London-based musicians has forged a style which, while anchored in the American tradition, reflects the Caribbean and African cultural heritages of many of its vanguard players. The scene ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

A tribute to Tony Allen plus some new releases

Read "A tribute to Tony Allen plus some new releases" reviewed by Bob Osborne

This week a tribute to the great Nigeria drummer, percussionist and songwriter Tony Allen. One of the main collaborators, and musical director, of Fela Kuti's band Africa '70 from 1968 to 1979, he was a central figure in Afrobeat music. In later years he embraced a variety of musical styles, developed “Afrofunk" and worked with a ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Fabio Morgera: tradizione e progresso

Read "Fabio Morgera: tradizione e progresso" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi

Tornato a vivere in Italia alcuni anni fa, dopo un lungo periodo di studio e attività professionale negli Stati Uniti, Fabio Morgera è uno dei massimi trombettisti della sua generazione e s'è imposto per lo stile estroverso, caratterizzato da intenso feeling e marcato groove. Eclettico per natura, alla leadership in progetti di taglio contemporaneo—anche intrisi di ...


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