Give the Drummer Some's
Favorite Downloads from the MP3 Blogosphere
Like a slow-motion fireworks display, the exhibition of South African music history taking place at the blog Electric Jive continues to separate eyes from sockets and ears from terra firma. More an interactive museum than a mere download bazaar, this site presents one essential audio document after another, providing thoughtful commentary, archival photographs and, of course, free access to the music for the universe to cherish.
Last month I devoted an entire broadcast of Give the Drummer Some to recent offerings at Electric Jive, but the posting last week of pianist Gideon Nxumalo's 1962 gem Jazz Fantasia is deserving of further heralding. The accompanying essay (a portion of which is excerpted below) is surely a must-read, but for South African jazz adherents the appearance of this album—featuring the twin towers of South African alto sax, Kippie "Morolong" Moeketsi (left) and Dudu Pukwana—is nothing short of miraculous. As far as I'm concerned, any recording featuring the genius Moeketsi is something to marvel, but the small-combo pairing with Pukwana makes this one of the great treasures in jazz history.
Merrily we Morolong...
Gideon Nxumalo ~ "Jazz Fantastia"
(Blog: Electric Jive)
"True to its name in both form and spirit, Gideon Nxumalo’s 1962 Jazz Fantasia is a key document of modernist South African jazz. Vital, ambitious, consummate in conception and execution, it is perhaps the crucial small group recording of the early 1960s, and one of the few complete sets by a small modernist group to have been released on LP during these years. Nxumalo’s compositions are taut and boppish, in places unmistakably water-marked by the language of mbaqanga jazz, but speaking fluent bop – ‘Isintu’ in particular knits the melancholic mbaqanga chords which underpin the piece seamlessly into the bebop-styled changes of the main section." (Fin, at Electric Jive )
Various ~ "Polish Funk, Volumes 1–3"
(Blog: Lysergic Funk)
Shut Up and Gdansk
"A heady second helping of funky grooves from Poland—an unlikely source, to be sure, but one that's filled with a huge amount of great tracks just waiting to be discovered by a global audience! This volume may well be even better than the first—as it features a wealth of tunes that have a really unique approach—not just attempts to copy American styles of funk, but some really original ways of approaching a groove! All tracks are from the Polskie Nagrania catalog, but a good number of them are on un-reissued albums that are so rare we've never seen them in the original—including some great fusion, funky rock, and vocal titles alongside the more expected jazz." (Soul Diggs, at Heavy Weight Crates)
Big Youth ~ "A Luta Continua"
(Blog: Deejay Toasters)
Manley Augustus Buchanan, Esq.
"In 1985, Big Youth released a surprising new album, A Luta Continua, where he transformed from toaster to singer and roots rasta to jazzman, accompanied by Jamaican jazz hero Herbie Miller [and American jazz hero Byard Lancaster, ed.]." (Jo-Ann Greene, at Allmusic.com)
Batata y Su Rumba Palenquera ~ "Radio Bakongo"
(Blog: Black Star Liners)
"Batata and his excellent band specialize in son palenquera and champeta, and may already have come to your attention through the inclusion of the track "Ataole" on the Champeta Criolla, Vol. 2 compilation. That CD focused largely on Cartagena's sound system based form of champeta, a newish hybrid style which cannibalizes pan-African and indigenous Colombian influences, spicing them up with mucho shouting and sometimes irritating use of trashy effects. What might be a lot of fun at a rum-fueled street party makes for a sometimes wearing experience in other contexts.Thankfully Batata's band stick to a much rootsier groove, employing tiple, accordion, brass, twinkling soukous guitar, plenty of drummers and call-and-response vocals to create their hypnotic grooves." (BBC Music)
Kazuki Tomokawa ~ "Ore No Uchi De Nariyamanai Uta"
The Screaming Philosopher
"Poet, singer, artist, bicycle race commentator, essayist, actor, drinker.
An artist who miraculously embodies the romance of the vagabond poet, a rarity in an age where our very freedom means we have forgotten how to live." (From Kazukitomokawa.com )
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