Jazz sometimes is most adventurous when it is interwoven with certain cultural styles, such as Brazilian, Latin, and South African. Well, there's another side of the African influence. Brought to us from Nigeria, Ayetoro delivers a funky beat the merges that country's native music with some hip, groove-driven jazz.
Founded in 1996 by Funsho Ogundipe, a Yoruba composer, Ayetoro presents a five-track selection of music that combines jazz with Nigerian Afrobeat. Ogundipe plays Fender Rhodes electric piano, writes, and produces. He actually leads two versions of the band: one based in London, the other in Lagos, Nigeria. It's the London ensemble, with a few additional players, that's featured on The Afrobeat Chronicles Vol. 1.
If there's one disappointment about the album, it's that there are only five songs, which breeze through in less than half an hour. Fortunately, that's the worst that can be said. The music is upbeat, joyful, funky, and of course jazzy. All the songs are good, but perhaps the coolest is the one with the most original title: "Revenge of the Flying Monkeys. Some of the sidemen featured on this album are Byron Wallen, trumpet; Linus Bewely, clarinet and soprano sax; Robert Fordjour, drums; and Orefo Orakwue, bass. Whether playing solo or in the background, each brings a sharp performance to the recording. Hopefully, this won't be the last time we hear from Ayetoro.