Friday, May 12, 2006

11. Sabu - Palo Congo (1957)

Track Listing

1. El Cumbanchero
2. Billumba/Palo Congo
3. Choferita/Plena
4. Asabache
5. Simba
6. Rhapsodia Del Maravilloso
7. Aggo Elegua
8. Tribilin Cantore


Well, this is different. And not just a bit different. This is indeed very different.

Although it is a Blue Note album, it isn't jazz as you know it. In fact for most part it isn't jazz at all, but it's very close to the roots of jazz. You could call it Afro-Cuban music, loads of influences of rumba etc. but very gutural and primal. Interestingly, many of the tracks have Santeria rituals incoorporated in them, and although from a Latin origin, and many of the songs are sung in Spanish dilect, the African components comes across very strongly, particularly in the drumming.

If you could imagine the music that slaves would play at night in a Cuban plantation, this would probably sound a lot like it. Of course there are mellower tracks here, and Rhapsodia Del Maravilloso consists of a beautiful guitar solo and the percussion takes a back seat for that track. Its sheer strangeness makes it a great album, in the context of formal jazz, Sinatra's and Elvis' of the time. Whoever bought this album in 1957 must have been a cool cat indeed.

After the first hearing, the infectiousness of the music starts seeping into you. And the rythms of the thing are beautiful. It is hard to imagine that Sabu is a New Yorker born and raised, but that he is. Definitely something that should be listened too by everyone, not something I would stick in my Ipod, but a curiosity that is not only that, but a document of some amazing drumming and guitar playing. Unfortunately, some of the more excited and exciting songs like Simba are sometimes ruined by the Voudoun-priest-like shrieks in the middle of the tracks. Still, it definitely grows on you. But something you'd not like to listen too often.

You can stream this from Napster.

Or buy it at Amazon: UK or US

Track Highlights

1. Rhapsodia Del Maravilloso
2. El Cumbanchero
3. Billumba/Palo Congo
4. Tribilin Cantore

Final Grade

6/10 (but do listen to it)


Voted "Best Album To Kill Chickens To" in Good Housekeeping Jan. 1976

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Be careful, don't be confused with other Sabu, the Asian-Indian actro from 1940 movie "Theif of the Baghdad".