segunda-feira, 17 de julho de 2017

The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project - Axels & Sockets 2014

It seems sadly fitting that Jeffrey Lee Pierce (best remembered as the founder and leading light of the fabled band the Gun Club) is better recognized in Europe years after his death in 1996 than he was in his native United States in the final decade of his short life; it was just the sort of fate that met many of the innovative blues and jazz artists and outlaw poets that were his heroes and role models. Though audiences overseas more eagerly embrace Pierce's vision, there was something strongly and defiantly American in his lyrical voice and his fusion of blues, punk, jazz, folk, country, and nearly any other native musical strain that crossed his path. Thankfully, a handful of Pierce's friends and admirers have kept the flame alive with a series of albums that offer fresh, sometimes radical interpretations of his songs, with Pierce's old running buddy Cypress Grove contributing guidance and a cache of old demo cassettes that held a treasure trove of unrecorded Jeffrey Lee Pierce compositions.  The third album from the Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions ProjectAxels & Sockets, offers more rare and unheard Pierce tunes performed by a rotating cast of musicians, ranging from folks who knew and worked with Pierce (Debbie Harry and Lydia Lunch) to like-minded left-of-center rock icons (Iggy PopNick CaveThurston Moore), and young upstarts who see Pierce as an influence and kindred spirit (Black MothHoney). While a number of these performances are rave-ups in the Gun Club's tradition of punk informed by rootsy blues and country accents -- notably Honey's version of "Thunderhead" and Slim Cessna's Auto Club's romp through "Ain't My Problem Baby" -- many of the participants put different spins on his work, showing how diverse his songs could be in the right hands. Iggy Pop's wiry vocals fit "Nobody's City" like a glove, Primal Scream's electronic overhaul of "Goodbye Johnny" transports the song's swampy vibe into cyberspace, Nick Cave's duet with Debbie Harry on "Into the Fire" reinforces both the beauty of the melody and the emotional intelligence of the lyrics, Mark Lanegan finds something both lovely and ominous in "Desire by Blue River," and Lydia Lunch's spoken word duet with an old recording of Pierceon "The Journey Is Long" is effective enough that it ought to be longer than just over a minute. (Pierce's vocals also pop up on Mark Stewart's reworking of "Shame and Pain," with Thurston Moore adding his own brand of dissonance.) In their third round, Cypress Grove and his colleagues are still finding fascinating things in the Jeffrey Lee Pierce archives, and Axels & Sockets is a potent reminder of the strength and imagination of his songwriting, making a powerful case for his status as an overlooked visionary. AMG.

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Newen Afrobeat - Newen Afrobeat 2013

Newen Afrobeat  is the first Afrobeat Band in Chile, formed on 2009, is the answer from this part of the world to the style created by Fela Kuti.

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Mateus Aleluia - Cinco Sentidos 2010

The singer and composer Mateus Aleluia, born in Cachoeira, Bahia, is the only living representative of the original formation of the musical group "Os Tincoãs", one of the most important black vocal groups in the country in the 70s and 80s.
Selected by the Petrobras Cultural Program 2006/2007, the CD Five Sentidos is an important record of the career of Hallelujah, composed of 11 tracks, almost all of its own.
The repertoire of the work reveals its influences and sources of artistic inspiration, ranging from the Afro-Baroque culture, marked by the strong ties with its ancestry, to the Brazilian indigenous imagination. The Tincoãs is one of the most significant and exuberant groups that this country has ever had. Mateus Aleluia produced a beautiful album, after two decades of near exile in Angola. An album that deserves much more recognition than it has achieved. In fact, one of the best of the decade.

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Aretha Franklin - Who's Zoomin Who 1987

After an almost-two-year hiatus from the charts, the Queen of Soul returned in style with three Billboard R&B Top Ten singles, including the number one smash hit "Freeway of Love," which featured a festive rhythm arrangement, an electric sax solo by Clarence Clemons, and Aretha Franklin's lively vocals. It held the number one spot for five straight weeks. The title track, "Who's Zoomin' Who," has a sputtering bassline and chiming keyboards augmented by Franklin's soulful delivery, and her improvised ad libs are laudable, to say the least. The single peaked at number two for four consecutive weeks. She had another Top Ten hit with "Another Night," a midtempo number with a light rock feel. It was a number nine hit. Her duet with the Eurythmics, "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves," faltered at number 66. Narada Michael Walden is credited with the majority of the production on this sound outing. AMG.

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B Fachada - Há festa na Mouraria 2010

B Fachada is the stage name of Bernardo Cruz Fachada (Lisbon, 1984), is a Portuguese singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, married to Mané Pacheco, a Portuguese visual artist.
He collaborated with Tiago Pereira on the documentary Contemporary Oral Tradition (2008) . In 2009 it reaches some protagonism with the discs A Weekend of the Golden Pony and B Facade.
B Fachada was part of the group Devil on the Cross, from where it left after the recordings of the disc Popular Roque.
In 2010 launches Festa Na Vivienda on the internet and in vinyl edition. At the end of the year he edits the album B Fachada É Pra Meninos to have great prominence in the Portuguese press. He performs in various venues and festivals, such as the CCB, Optimus Alive 2012, the Seated People Festival in 2011, the Super Bock Super Rock 2011 in Meco on the EDP stage, or the Super Bock in Stock 2010.
At the moment, it makes available all its discs (that in the majority of cases are exhausted) for direct download and sale in Bandcamp:
In 2015 the project "Violência Eletrodoméstica" began with Xavier Almeida, under the name of Pato Bravo.

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Cecil McBee - Compassion 1983

Performed the day after Music from the Source (which was also recorded at Sweet Basil's in New York), this excellent post-bop set features the brilliant bassist Cecil McBee, up-and-coming saxophonist Chico Freeman (heard on tenor and soprano), trumpeter Joe Gardner, pianist Dennis Moorman, drummer Steve McCall and Don Moye on conga. They perform long renditions of a pair of McBeeoriginals, along with Freeman's "Pepe's Samba." The excellent solos, particularly those of Freeman, are adventurous, yet still based in the hard bop/modal tradition. AMG.

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Baba Salah - Borey 2012

Baba is a Malian Songhai musician from Gao in northern Mali. Songhai music is reminiscent of American blues, and Baba pushes the fusion in his style and arrangements. Baba epitomizes Akwaaba's concept: although he is one of the kings of music in Mali, he is virtually unknown outside of Africa.

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Big Chief Monk Boudreaux - Won't Bow Down 2011

Mardi Gras Indian chants often tell the history of the gangs and their experiences, encounters and battles on the streets. On Monk Boudreaux’s latest album, Won’t Bow Down, the renowned Big Chief of the Golden Eagles makes it more personal with many of the tunes offering insights about his life as both a Black Indian and a man. Monk celebrates the release of his CD on Saturday, July 23, 2011, at d.b.a.
Boudreaux credits the album’s producer Keven Brennan for the disc’s biographical theme. “He said, ‘Monk, let’s do some of that stuff that you be doing at your house all the time – that you’d be talking about,’” the Big Chief remembers.
The opening song, “Monk’s Mardi Gras,” begins much like a book might with Boudreaux in his clear voice speaking over the sound of drums: “Yeah, go back to when I was a kid, daddy wakin’ up at the break of dawn. He say he had to go and carry on.” The tune then jumps into the funk complete with horns and the provocative keyboards of Dr. John plus the repeated refrain, “Here comes Big Chief Monk.”
It was Monk’s father, Raymond, who was a member of the Creoles and Wild Squatoolas Mardi Gras Indian gangs, who introduced him to the culture. However Boudreaux didn’t mask with his dad. At age 12 he became the Second Spyboy for the White Eagles that was then led by the noted Big Chief Lawrence Fletcher. The gang changed its name to the Golden Eagles in 1962 and Monk took over as chief in the early 1970s. Remarkably, his father, who had left the tradition, came back to join Monk as his Second Chief in the Golden Eagles.
On the disc, Boudreaux pays tribute to his mother, who passed away last year, on the gently poetic “Mama’s Song” on which he’s joined by vocalist Jaqueline Hudson.
“She never did no sewing,” Monk says of his mother. “I don’t believe she wanted to get into that part of it. She prepared food for us. Every Mardi Gras, every St. Joseph’s Night she’d cook for us and feed hundreds of people. That’s where I get the cooking from.”
Monk’s passion for cooking, especially around Mardi Gras time, is the topic of “Footsteps,” a light-hearted number with its title referring to those hungry friends lingering around his door. One can almost see him smiling when he says, “Gettin’ ready to put that gator in the pot…" “I can cook just about anything,” he proudly exclaims. “Every holiday I cook and give big yard parties and people come around and enjoy themselves.”
Boudreaux has always had an affinity for reggae and has often infused the style in his live and recorded performances. Backed by the Los Angeles group Orgone, the beauty of Monk’s voice, which encompasses the Jamaican flavor of his idol Bob Marley, is perfectly set off by the sway and emotion of “Don’t Take My Flag Down.” He explains that when he was a kid, flags identifying a gang used to hang in front of the bars where they would hold their practices. So the song’s title represents an old Indian saying as well as expressing the post-Katrina promise of coming home.
He turns to reggae again to tell a true story about his childhood on his poignant “Education.”
“I’ve been holding it in for a really long time,” Monk Boudreaux says of writing about a principal who made him repeat the fifth grade for three years following the transfer of him and other students from a school that had closed.
“The principal didn’t want us in the school and he made it known,” Boudreaux explains with bitterness remaining in his voice. “Every time he saw me he’d just grab me by the ear and put me under a desk. The song tells the whole story. I never told anybody about that. You know it’s not the kids all of the time,” Monk adds in the hopes that in telling his tale he might help out a child who has been undeservedly labeled as bad.
On “Don’t Run Me Down,” a hard-hitting funk tune Monk wrote for this CD, the Big Chief sings in an atypical angry tone, “Mardi Gras morning is a holiday… I didn’t do no crime.” He’s making reference to Carnival Day 2010 when, before the sun set, members of the New Orleans Police Depart­ment converged on him, Big Chief Bo Dollis as well as other Indians and folks gathered to observe their rituals on the corner of Second Street and Dryades, a longtime Black Indian meeting place. With sirens wailing, the police’s aim was to disperse the crowd, showing no respect for the Mardi Gras Indian culture. “It’s like the things that are going on now used to go on back in the 1950s and ’60s when the police used to run the Indians down and put them in jail,” Boudreaux explains. “That’s until a judge told them not to bring the Indians back there because this is their tradition. It really upsets me because all of this was over with and now it’s coming back.” Monk gets back into the funk and fun on the remake of his signature tune “Lightning and Thunder,” the title cut of his 1988 Rounder Records release. That edition, recorded in the Golden Eagles’ regular practice spot, the H&R Bar, was raw in its approach. Some 23 years later, Monk beefs it up with a full band and a hefty electric guitar plus a rap by his 25-year-old son. The Big Chief was successfully in bringing “Lightning and Thunder” to modern times without sacrificing the significance of the deep eye of the storm. That eye, that core is the remarkable Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, an Indian of great stature, a musician of true talent and man of goodwill that, as the title of this moving CD announces, Won’t Bow Down.
This article was originally published in the July 18, 2011 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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Camisa De Vênus - Plugado! 1995

Influenced by the precursors of Brazilian rock, Raul Seixas, and British punk bands like the Sex Pistolsthe Clash and the BuzzcocksMarcelo Nova, a DJ at Rádio Aratu FM (Salvador, BA), rounded up guitarists Karl Hummel and Gustavo Müllen, bassist Robério Santana, and drummer Aldo Machado to form Camisa de Vênus in late 1980.

In the next year, Hummel departed for a period in Europe, and the band preferred to wait for him rather than replace him. In March 1982, the band really began their activities, recording a single five months later, "Meu Primo Zé," which scored a hit in Rio/São Paulo. Soon, they were recording their first LP for Som Livre, Camisa de Vênus. Released in October 1983, the album had good repercussions; but their record company complained about the group's aggressiveness, trying to change their name. The band abandoned Som Livre and departed for two years on the road without a label behind them. In late 1985, Camisa de Vênus signed with RGE, who reissued Camisa de Vênus and released the band's second LP, Batalhão de Estranhos, keeping their crude formula. The album's success was immediate, and the two first albums yielded gold records.
The third one also bet on spontaneity, being recorded live in March 1986. The album had the hit "Sílvia." A few months later, the band left RGE and signed with WEA, recording Correndo o Risco. A different album, this one even featured an orchestra in "A Ferro e Fogo," but it didn't scare away their fans, selling 200,000 copies. In 1987, they recorded a double album, Duplo Sentido, which sold 40,000 copies. The album, featuring the participation of their idol, Raul Seixas, in "Muita Estrela, Pouca Constelação," evidenced different concepts and directions, making it clear that a separation was near. And indeed Nova left the band with Müllen, and, inviting keyboardist João Chaves, bassist Nadinho Feliciano, and drummer James Müller, formed the band A Envergadura Moral. In 1988, the band recorded Marcelo Nova & A Envergadura Moral. In the next year, Novarecorded an LP with Raul Seixas, A Panela do Diabo, which was Seixas' last album, as he died on August 21st. A Envergadura Moral also recorded (with Nova) the album Blackout in 1991 (Continental), taking a break after its release. In 1994, the group teamed again, with Marcelo Nova, Karl Hummel, Robério Santana, guitarist Luís Sérgio Carlini, keyboardist Carlos Alberto Calazans, and drummer Franklin Paolillo, recording the live CD Camisa de Vênus ao Vivo: Plugado! (1996, Polygram) and Quem é Você? (1997, Polygram). AMG.
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Bob Weir & Rob Wasserman - Live 1998

Two years after the demise of the Grateful Dead, guitarist/singer Bob Weir put a tentative toe in the water of a post-Dead career with this release, his first non-Dead disc since 1984. Part of what made it so tentative was that it was in fact archival material, all but one track coming from the fall of 1988, and that one from the summer of 1992. Weir has been touring with bassist Wasserman since their partnership began with the show recorded for this album, in recent years with extra players under the name Ratdog. Most of the material here is familiar from the Dead's repertoire ("Victim or the Crime," "Throwing Stones") or Weir's ("Looks Like Rain," "Heaven Help the Fool"). But especially when the two break into "Walkin' Blues," the spare acoustic guitar/bass arrangements are liable to remind you not so much of the Dead as of Hot Tuna. Of course, Weir doesn't have Jorma Kaukonen's chops, but he is an enthusiastic singer, and Wasserman remains a wonderfully melodic bass player. AMG.

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David S. Ware - Third Ear Recitation 1993

This is one of David S. Ware's most notorious, yet well-developed and executed recordings. Following Flight Of I, Ware assembled his quartet -- Matthew Shipp, piano; William Parker, bass; Whit Dickey, drums -- and proceeded to lay down his own music, as well as a number of startling covers. The disc kicks off with one of two versions of "Autumn Leaves," both completely different from one another. The first has Shipp playing the changes straight by the book with no solo and Parker playing arco, except for his plucked solo. Dickey strides the rhythmic changes and fills in the accents on Ware's deep blowing that articulates the melody while undoing it and filling in all the half tones around it. Next up is a furious version of Sonny Rollins' "East Broadway Ruin Down," where Ware takes Rollins' melody and charges it up the entire scale at each turnaround. Parker's pizzicato here is literally stunning as he matches Ware's intensity bar for bar while Shipp lays out the first half, and it's up to Dickey to hold the rhythm itself as a guidepost for the other two. In the middle section Ware adds a series of minor sixths and thirds that bore a hole through the harmonic angle as Shipp enters with a series of staccato phrases and legato runs, and highlights the delicate shifts in Rollins open-chorded architecture. Ware's own compositions, such as the title track and "The Chase," are arpegiattic studies for ensemble, the lines he plays are perforated and squeal out of that huge, across-the-board tone of his, and are laid upon the ensemble, who swing for the fences with him. The cover of "Angel Eyes" has Ware taking apart the major fourth melody and keying in a solo based on minor thirds and subtle shifting intervallic exchanges between he and Shipp. And, finally, on the closer, the other version of "Autumn Leaves," the entire piece is different. Shipp plays freely altering dynamics throughout as Ware, who begins the piece playing solo, sublimates himself periodically into Shipp's mysteriously tender play on the changes, as Parker bows softly in the foreground. It is completely different, yet just as compelling as the first version. This is truly a record that should be studied for decades to come. AMG.

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Barbara Manning - In New Zealand 1998

True to her collaborative form, this "solo" effort from Barbara Manning is more like a transpacific one-off supergroup of indie rock without the goofy moniker -- not that any of the much-respected but commercially overlooked artists from New Zealand (the Cleanthe 3-D'sthe Verlaines) and the States (Calexico) could add hunks of prestige to the record via a stronger association with its creative genesis. To all but a few music geeks these artists speak in obscure musical tongues, so In New Zealand's truth in packaging ultimately matters little. Just call it a Manning solo effort for simplicity's sake and be thankful for the effort. Those interested will find many tender and sometimes bleak and bitter moments on this 1999 Communion release. The metaphorical meat of "Your Pies" (penned by Manning and New Zealand alpha-rocker Chris Knox) is perhaps the toughest of the set, while sweet and sour cuts like "Whatever I Do Is Right/Wrong" and "Everything Happens By Itself" make up the blunt, poetic main course of this minimalist feast. When fans of Manning begin digesting the simple truthfulness of In New Zealand, a familiar, sated feeling will result, and the name listed above the title will seem appropriate. AMG.

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sábado, 24 de junho de 2017

Heliocentrics & Melvin Van Peebles - The Last Transmission 2014

“High reaching” is arguably the best way to describe über-talented collective The Heliocentrics, an incredibly demanding act to characterize. On their Facebook page, they proclaim their style as being “psychedelicallybrokenjazzsoulfunk”—fair enough.  Labels aside, collaborating with multi-talented filmmaker, recording artist, and certified Baadasssss Melvin Van Peebles, The Heliocentrics deliver something of their own gesamtkunstwerk. Sure, there’s no visual component—as the Wagnerian concept would entail—but ambitious cosmic narrative The Last Transmission is like few other albums of modern times.

“Chapter 1: Prologue” establishes the tone of the album, offering the first taste of Van Peebles’ poetic vocals. On the opener, the Heliocentrics provide a soundtrack of sorts for Van Peebles’ speech. The Heliocentrics themselves take more of an accompaniment, complement-driven role, ceding the spotlight to Van Peebles’ spacey tale.

“Chapter 2: Big Bang Transmission” features the instrumentalists more than the prologue, as the sounds grow more cacophonous in nature. The jazz tendencies are still in place, anchored by the groove, but there is transcendence beyond the basics. Van Peebles doesn’t appear until the tail end, providing a lyrical cue for “Chapter 2” to segue into the brief “Chapter 3: Searching For Signs”. Boisterous and unsettling, “Chapter 3” exemplifies The Heliocentrics’ unique sound.
Again, Van Peebles drives the narrative into “Chapter 4: Blue Mist”, another brief but distinct sounding number. The rhythmic structure, coupled with the intensity of the sound and overall color, make this particular cut stand out. Uniquely, Van Peebles expands upon the subject (“blue mist”) and attempts to provide some clarity. That said, The Last Transmission is so driven by its astronomical subject matter, even clarity from Van Peebles’ eloquent storytelling isn’t synonymous with accessibility. “Chapter 5: The Cavern” does a superb job of truly focusing on being a tone poem, arguably more than previous cuts. The sounds assembled definitely make the listener picture “the cavern”, even if it’s as nebulous as the enigmas of the universe itself. “Chapter 6: Transformation (Pt. 1)” and “Chapter 7: Transformation (Pt. 2)” continue, firmly invested in shaping the extraterrestrial listening experience.
“I passed out again”, Van Peebles states at the beginning of “Chapter 8: Telepathic Routine”. “When I came back around, everything had changed…I changed into a cloud too, just like everybody else.” Still quite lofty for total understanding, with the aid of telepathy being defined as being psychic, and a few key words by Van Peebles, the pieces are there. Musically, piano plays a key role, with a prominent, rhythmically assertive approach.
“Chapter 9: The Dance” does have a danceable groove, though the instruments that reside atop are contradictory, having little place on the dance floor. The second portion of “The Dance” becomes enigmatic, not far-fetched given the obsession with cosmology. Titular lyric “trust the cosmos”, opens the high-flying “Chapter 10: Trust The Cosmos (Believe in the Universe)”, which is filled with space funk. The drums groove hard, with the bass providing a robust foundation. “Chapter 11: Infinite List (TossThe Dice)” seems to speak to the unpredictability of the universe, or some similar message, depending how one interprets Van Peebles’ poetry as well as the collective’s harsh, raucous music. “Chapter 12: Epilogue” concludes The Last Transmission, still leaving the listener questioning exactly what their ears have partaken of. Like some of the kindler, gentler tracks, “Epilogue” benefits from a soulful groove indigenous to ‘70s soul and fusion. What more fitting way to close the 36 minute effort than a spacey synth?

Ultimately, The Last Transmission is an album that will leave some completely comprehending its flow and narrative, while others will leave overwhelmed, confused, or completely confounded by it. Regardless of what interpretation the listener makes ultimately, what is undeniable is the high level of creativity and musicianship dedicated to this album. It’s not without flaws, but The Last Transmission is definitely special.

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Golden Dawn Arkestra - Stargazer 2016

Formed in 2013, this Texas collective bends toward the Great Father, Sun Ra, along with touches of funk, soul and rock ‘n’ roll. Texas is a mysterious place, where large collectives can come together under one or two roofs, add dancers and visual artists where and when they need, amalgamate one subgenre and another and emerge with something that is exhilarating in its newness and invigorating in its ability to make us forget that we ever knew life before it. And, yeah, although the name and obvious Ra influence via the name might have you believing that this is a throwback unit, y’all are in for a pleasant surprise. Golden Dawn Arkestra, like some contemporary soulmeisters such as Adrian Younge et al., looks to the past for inspiration but decidedly wants us to believe that this is the music of the future. One listen to this, the band’s debut long-player, proves that.

The funky thide of things, as Billy Cobham would have called it, comes to light in the full tilt groove that is “Sama Chaka”. The band eschews anything close to traditional lyrics, preferring to repeat the title when the mood strikes and to let the groove do the talking. It’s hypnotic and meditative, reminding one of services at some sort of space church where Father Ra is worshipped and where we respect his apostles. It’s hypnotic enough, one must concede, that one might just sod it all and join this lot’s cult. There’s also room for a sense of humor via “Shabuki”, a spooky nod to Asian music and culture that’ll still have you shaking your groove thing. In a spiritual sense, of course. The same might be said for its companion, “Osaka”, which is as addictive as it is hypnotic. If the story that band founder Zapot Mgwana was told as a child, that Ra was his father, isn’t true, it might as well be. There’s something deeply embedded in the DNA of this band that could have only come from one man and could only be part of some greater, interplanetary plan. Though Ra is not the only father here. “Disko” asks us to consider what might have happened if Frank Zappa would have been far less cynical about the music of the 1970s and gotten himself a case of Saturday night fever.

Then again, Zappa was a major fan of blues and R&B and even dabbled in jazz and there’s some lead playing in the closing tune, “All Is Light”, which sounds like it could come from him or at least from the same source material. Of course we’re not playing spot the influence or look at the chip off the ol’ mythological block. Instead, we’re focusing (or should be) on this perfect culmination of everything this band does well. Except, of course, for the dancing and visual arts stuff that is rumored to go down when the group takes the stage. In all, this is an excellent way to bring to a close a record that’s destined to become one of the great underground favorites of 2016.

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Famoudou Don Moye, John Tchicai, Hartmut Geerken - The African Tapes 2001

This two-CD live sequel to Cassava Balls (Golden Years of New Jazz 4) captures the flavor of the trio's tour of Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia in the spring of 1985. The exquisite percussion of Famoudou Don Moye (of the Art Ensemble of Chicago) and Hartmut Geerken colors every tune with a Dionysian joy. John Tchicai blows hard and convincingly, as he belts out simple riffs and improvises melodically and passionately. Locals, including children and accomplished percussionists, occasionally join the trio, and the native influences are always apparent. The eight-page booklet is a plus, describing the music and the circumstances of the performances. For many in the audience, this was a first exposure to this kind of music. Imagine introducing Albert Ayler's "Ghosts" to a receptive, musically virginal crowd. On one piece, the sounds reminded some of a secret religious ceremony and they fled in terror from the auditorium. There is much excitement everywhere, as Tchicai builds tension through repetition and Moye and Geerken fan the flames, generating intense heat. Some may find the emphasis on percussion and little instruments tiresome, but there is a unique enlightening quality to the bells and whistles that engulfs the saxophone in a meditative cloud of vaporous cacophony. AMG.

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