And now for a little taste of what to expect at this Saturday’s Pelanga! The legendary Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou Benin stretches out with this scorching Sato-Salsa track. There’s nothing I really can say that hasn’t already been documented by Analog Africa in one of their many compilations featuring the band’s illustrious work from the 70’s and 80’s. That said, we’ll just let the music do the talking. Vamos!
Like many DJs of my generation my initial interest in vinyl records began through my love affair with hip hop. In earlier years the goal was to find doubles of anything funky and especially with drum breaks to cut up. Of course, with this approach I let many other incredible recordings slip through my fingers during those days.
Honestly, it’s only been in the last five years that my ears have finally opened to the more sophisticated (but not always less funky) forms of jazz. Fortunately, from those dark ages there are a number of battered Blue Note and Prestige records with such irresistibly good music they escaped my shameful squandering.
Art Blakey’s classic Blue Note LP “Holidays For Skins” is one such record that defied the odds with four amazing Latin jazz arrangements, each chalked full of rich Afro-Latin percussion provided by some of the greats (check the full band lineup below!). Even back then names like Sabu Martinez, Ray Barretto, Donald Bryd and Ray Bryant were obvious targets. This is definitely a record that has grown on me over time and has continually fueled my growing love for Afro-Cuban jazz.
Enough talk, let’s listen!
Reflection Side 2 Song 2
Personnel: Art Blakey, drums; Philly Joe Jones, drums and tympani; Art Taylor, drums and gong; Sabu Martinez, bongo and conga; Ray Barretto, Chonquito Vicente, congas; Victor Gonzalez, bongo; Andy Delannoy, maracas and cencerro; Julio Martinez, conga and treelog; Fred Pagani Jr., timables; Donald Bryd, trumpet; Ray Bryant, piano; Wendell Marshall, bass
Here’s a heartfelt tribute to Dr. King, straight out of Oakland/Stockton in the early 80s (I think). Was any of our readers at Melrose School back then?
Massive respect to Jose Reynoso, who’s still doing great work in Stockton today.
Martin Luther King Jr. by Jose “El Kid” Reynaga
My apologies for the long absence; big thanks to Pozole for holding it down in our absence. Let me join him in giving a big welcome to Smokestack! We’re all very excited to have him join us; he’s a brother to us, and he brings a deep, deep music collection.
A long trip means lots of new music to share! I had one afternoon in Germany, and I spent half of it hanging out and talking music in a little Afghan shop. There’s not much I can say about this one, except turn the bass up and blast it!
(Given the reverence with which the guy spoke about Ustad Sarban as one of the pillars of Afghan music, I’m gonna go ahead and assume that this CD doesn’t match the cover. I’m hoping the internet will send someone here who can tell us whose music this is.)
While Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister may not be the go-to floor-filler on a Friday night, his unique blend of west African spiritual rhythms still energize the soul like a Pelanga dance floor! As if the faded carnival font and dapper 70’s fashion were not a strong enough lure, our featured musician is rockin’ some turquoise leather shoes! Don’t know about you, but that’s evidence enough for me to drop a few dollars and take the risk of buying an unknown record. I figured a man with such style, yet laid back enough to take time out to smell the flowers would surely create some high quality music.
Well, for our listening enjoyment Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister and his Fuji Exponents produces just that…the kind of music that instantly soothes the soul and leads those unfortunate enough not to speak the Yoruba language to ask “what on earth is he saying”?
A brief internet search quickly informs me that as far as the Nigerian musical style of Fuji is concerned I’ve tapped the source. As it turns out, Alhaji is not only the father of Fuji but was also an early master of it’s musical precursor Were/Ajisari, a genre traditionally performed before dawn during the fasting season of Ramadan. According to the spiritual leader and master musician, Fuji music is named after the Japanese mountain of love and is a combination of Sakara, Apala, Juju, Aaro, Gudugudu, and Highlife.
With over 150 albums recorded up until his passing in 2010, Alhaji helped cement the Fuji sound in the popular culture of Nigeria, where it continues to flourish today. Listen to this incredible self-titled album in its entirety here!
In the previous post from last week I offered up a feast of Parang—Latin folkloric Christmas music from Trinidad. So what would be the perfect postre to follow that up with? How about Calypso music from Nicaragua? Makes sense to me. Here is a jumping Calypso called Jack Ass by Dimensión Costeña from their 197? Money-Money LP.
Jack Ass by Dimensión Costeña
For more Dimensión Costeña check out our Carnaval themed week from two years ago where Papicultor featured their great Palo de Mayo record.