BBE Records Begin Comprehensive Tabansi Records Reissue Project
BBE records began their exciting Tabansi Gold Series project on Friday, with the release of Zeal Onyia’s highly sought-after ‘Agadi-Akwukwo’ (old-school) highlife LP, Trumpet King Zeal Onyia Returns, and two albums by The Young Ones Of Guyana. The label are to work alongside Prince Joseph Tabansi, the current managing director of the pioneering Nigerian record label, to reissue multiple albums from the Tabansi catalogue, which stretches back over six decades. A statement from the label suggests that approximately 50 titles are ‘primed and ready,’ and that we are to expect updated sleeve notes and original sleeve artwork, heavyweight vinyl, remastered audio and revised liner bags.
Details of the significance of Tabansi records and the actions of its founder, Chief (Dr) G.A.D. Tabansi, can be found here.
2019 Polaris Music Prize Longlist Announced
The 40 album longlist for the Polaris Music Prize (Canada’s equivalent of the Mercury Music Prize) was announced this week. Marie Davidson, whose album Working Class Womanwas released to great acclaim on the Ninja Tune last year, is amongst the nominees, as is Shay Lia, whose record Dangerous features contributions from KAYTRANADA & BadBadNotGood, Buddy and Kojey Radical. Check out the full list hereand watch the video for Shay Lia’s collaborative cut below.
The Repeat Listen: Abdullah Ibrahim – The Balance
Tasting notes: Cecil Payne – Zodiac, Yusef Lateef – Psychicemotus, Randy Weston & his African Rhythms Trio – Zep Tepi, Duke Ellington – In Coventry 1966, Abdullah Ibrahim & Ekaya – The Mountain
Alongside the late greats Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba, Abdullah Ibrahim is one of South Africa’s most celebrated and revered jazz musicians. Known as Dollar Brand prior to his conversion to Islam (and often referred to by both names on record sleeves and concert brochures thereafter,) he has spent large parts of his career exiled in the U.S., yet during that time, remained spiritually connected to his country of birth and attuned to the anti-apartheid struggle. His status as one of jazz music’s living masters is undeniable, and was affirmed with his being received into the NEA Jazz Masters fellowship earlier this year.
An intimate portrait of the 84-year-old pianist and composer provides the cover for his new album, The Balance, which is released next week by Gearbox records. With his tight-lipped smile, lidded eyes and slightly furrowed upper cheeks, he conveys a warmth and sense of mature understanding sincerely reflected in this new music, which he and band Ekaya recorded in London late last year.
‘There’s simplicity in the complexity so that people can relate to it,’Ibrahim identifies of his new work in its accompanying literature. Those simpler elements are imbued with emotion and finesse, as on Jabula, the composition closest to the Marabi fundamentals Ibrahim so beautifully explains in the 1987 film, A Brother with Perfect Timing. He trips and trills notes to his heart’s content, subtly varying his dynamics and placement in the simple opening passage, ushering in a sequence of fantastic horn riffs, evoking images of the joyous big band age.
The Balanceis itself a balanced record; various moods and styles are on show across its ten tracks. Opener Dreamtime is a delicate, reflective introduction, with bassist Noah Jackson punctuating beautifully, Will Terrill displaying deft brush work, and beautiful flute lines leading the piece along, courtesy of Cleave Guyton Jr.. Abdullah saunters with confidence over the slow number, preserving the tension with his selection of notes as he transitions beautifully into second track, Nisa. In contrast to the opening number, Nisabrings horns to the fore, with Marshall McDonald contributing one of many exquisite baritone sax solos heard on the record. Andrae Murchison’s trombone work on the track is also noteworthy – each musician in the ensemble demonstrating their capability well at some point during the album.
Amongst the ensemble numbers are three solo piano recordings from Ibrahim — each one gentle and dynamic, carefully and creatively composed. Tonegawa is a standout, with its beautiful arpeggios, motifs maneuvered across the piano’s octaves, and Ibrahim’s innately musical movement from chord to chord.
The Balance is Ibrahim’s first album in four years, and is a work as strong as you might expect from an artist of his reputation. Maturity, sincerity and skill are all apparent from each musician’s contributions to this LP. The album is released on Friday 28th June courtesy of Gearbox records.
New Sounds and Visuals:
London-based artist Kojey Radical, who featured on the recently released Swindle LP No More Normal, has released a new video for his single Can’t Go Back. Co-directed with Charlie Di Placido and produced by Holly Taylor, Radical describes the dance-heavy visual as a ‘return to form,’explaining that, ‘When I went through the darkest parts of my depression I used dance as a sort of healing therapy.’ He has crafted a video to reflect the joy of losing one’s self in the moment, letting go of their troubles and taking things ‘all the way back to the basics’ in order to start afresh, with distance from past trauma. Check out the new video below.
Kelsey Lu’s new visual for Foreign Car is a strong artistic statement, with its incredible wardrobe and styling, range of imagery and filming styles. The vocalist and cellist released her album Blood earlier this year.
Carter Tutti Void have announced what will be their final album, The Wire reports. New track t3.5 is streaming now and Carter Tutti will appear at Band on the Wall for Subliminal Impulse Electronic Music Festival in July.
Snarky Puppy have released Chrysalis,the second bonus track from Immigrance, today. Written by saxophonist Bob Reynolds, it was born out of his compositional frustration and the realisation that the chrysalis is a suitable metaphor for the composer’s experience: ‘Lots of internal work the world never sees and at the end, if you’re lucky, a song emerges.’ he states.