Thursday, July 31, 2014

Finding Fela (Alex Gibney, 2014)

Finding Fela tells the story of Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s life, his music, his social and political importance. He created a new musical movement, Afrobeat, using that forum to express his revolutionary political opinions against the dictatorial Nigerian government of the 1970s and 1980s. His influence helped bring a change towards democracy in Nigeria and promoted Pan Africanist politics to the world. The power and potency of Fela’s message is completely current today and is expressed in the political movements of oppressed people, embracing Fela’s music and message in their struggle for freedom. Finding Fela was directed by the Academy Award winning director, Alex Gibney.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens - Cold World (2014)

With Gabriel (Bosco Mann) Roth at the helm, Naomi and company went into the studio Summer 2013, and cut onto tape what can only be described as bonafide Soul Excitement of the highest order!  At the heart of it, Cold World is a Soul record but the cross section of sub-genres the album weaves through makes it difficult to label it plainly as such.  There are tracks like ‘Sinner’, ‘Heaven Is Mine’, and ‘Humble Me’ that capture the group’s penchant for Soul grooves, seasoned with Naomi’s tough vocal delivery, and the Queens melodic interplay, which captures perhaps better than any of the other tracks, NSGQ’s live show. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Tumi Mogorosi - Project ELO (2014)

When Tumi Mogorosi composed this suite for jazz musicians and opera vocalists he had never heard the previous successful attempts by Donald Byrd, Max Roach or Mary Lou Williams to combine these seemingly 'unfriendly'aesthetics. Tumi, born in 1987 and already an accomplished drummer on the Jo'Burg scene, was at the time studying music at the Tshwane University of Pretoria where he became close friends with opera singers working on the same campus. So unlike some of his US peers Tumi's beliefs are not 'religious'.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Badbadnotgood - III (2014)

The best work so far from this ultra-hip trio – an amazing combination of keyboards, bass, and drums – served up in styles that are rooted in funk and jazz, but go to so many other places as well! The drums crackle with a quality schooled in 70s breaks and beats, stripped down to their core – and the mix of keyboards echo a range of innovators from CTI to Money Mark, with a spacious flow that leaves plenty of room for the basslines to drive the tunes! Other instrumentation includes bits of guitar and percussion from the group, plus some guest tenor and strings as well.