50

Sam Newsome: The Straight Horn of Africa: A Path to Liberation

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
Sam Newsome: The Straight Horn of Africa: A Path to Liberation
Sam Newsome's The Straight Horn of Africa: A Path to Liberation (subtitled "Art of the Soprano, Vol. 2") is—despite the chronology—the fourth solo outing by the alto/tenor-turned-soprano saxophonist. The self-produced Monk Abstractions (2007) and Blue Soliloquy (2009) were highly regarded entries that preceded The Art of the Soprano, Vol. 1 (2012). The latter album saw Newsome using layering techniques that allowed him to add a percussion element effectively derived from tapping keys.

To suit the objectives of The Straight Horn of Africa..., Newsome's use of technical layering has been protracted to include multi-phonics that create the impression a larger group. However, the twenty-one relatively short tracks are not meant to be an exercise in the capabilities of the soprano—the straight horn—but an auditory conduit to Africa, meeting Newsome's ambitious goal to evoke the soul and vitality of the continent.

There are number of functional titles where Newsome's technical skills enable him to generate sounds outside the normal scope of the instrument. "N.D. Nile" runs the range of the sax pausing to tap out a chant-like pattern whereas "The Snake Charmer of Tangier" approximates the traditional serpentine swirl of a pungi. On other pieces such as "Dark Continent Dialogues," a jungle environment is simulated and on "African Nomads" one can sense Bedouins' loping movements across the Sahara.

The music on The Straight Horn of Africa... does not drop directly into defined topographical areas but uses Africa as a jumping point to explore the extrapolation of native forms into the wider world of music. There are complex pieces such as "The Obama Song: The Man from Kenya" that require an open mind and others like the disconnected four-part series, "Microtonal Nubian Horn," that are peculiarly hypnotic. "Highlife"—the uplifting closing composition—is one of the few tunes that imparts a consistent regional flavor.

The Straight Horn of Africa: A Path to Liberation, while highly experimental, is more accessible when taken as the musical journey it is intended to be. As a sociological experiment, the album humanizes the many diverse musical influences of Africa by incorporating them into avant-garde treatments that gives them a larger platform in the world. Newsome is tireless in his pursuit of new and open views of music, his instrument and the bigger picture. He continues to be one of the most adventurous artists in music.

Track Listing

Echoes From Mt. Kilamanjaro; The Straight Horn Of Africa; Explorations Of An African Horn, Part 1; The Obama Song: The Man From Kenya; Ethiopian Jews; Explorations Of An African Horn: Part 2; The Snake Charmer Of Tangier; Microtonal Nubian Horn: Part 1; Good Golly Miss Mali; African Conundrum; Sounds Of Somalia; When The Drum Speaks; Microtonal Nubian Horn: Part 2; Dark Continent Dialogues; African Nomads; Microtonal Nubian Horn: Part 3; Nightfal On The Owani Desert; The Day In The Life Of A Hunter Gatherer; Microtonal Nubian Horn: Part 4; Highlife.

Personnel

Sam Newsome: soprano saxophone.

Album information

Title: The Straight Horn of Africa: A Path to Liberation | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Self Produced

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Solitude
Rich Pellegrin
Ain't No Storm
Caleb Wheeler Curtis
Odd Wisdom
Diego Pinera
Secret Suite
Nick Lombardelli
The One And The Other
Lara Solnicki
Flatbosc & Cautery
Frank Gratkowski, Achim Kaufmann, Wilbert de...
Shuffling Ivories
Roberto Magris

Popular

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.