Tuesday, May 5, 2009

CD of the Day - "Roy Ayers: Africa, Center of the World"

CD of the Day
Roy Ayers: "Africa - Center of the World" (Polydor) 1981/2009

One of the lesser known albums by Roy Ayers, this conceptual project has just been reissued in Japan on the "Dig Up The Pieces" series distributed by Tower Records & marketed by Universal Music LLC.
Featuring the late Brazilian percussion genius Dom Um Romão (impeccable on all tracks, but shining specially on "Destination Motherland" and "The River Niger", on which he creates a percussive rain forest - a swinging forest indeed!), drummer Omar Hakim, electric bassist Peter Brown (who sounds like a mix of Louis Johnson & Gary King), guitarists Jeffery Quiton & Chuck Anthony, and keyboardists Harold Land., Jr, & Lesete Wilson on Fender Rhodes.
Ayers is heard mostly on the vibes, but also sings and plays Rhodes, Hohner Clavinet, bass marimba, congas etc, besides having arranged and co-produced the album with vocalist/synth player James Bedford (aka Jaymz Bedford) and William Allen, former Mongo Santamaria collaborator during the "Sofrito" days.
The ambitious project, dedicated to Fela Kuti and Bob Marley, is an ingenious mix of jazz, pop, funk, reggae, r&b and, of course, african music elements. The booklet of this CD reissue reproduces all the technical data from the original LP insert, but not the lyrics. New liner notes were added, but printed only in Japanese.

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