Sunday, May 14, 2006

13. Machito - Kenya (1957)

Track Listing

1. Wild Jungle
2. Congo Mulence
3. Kenya
4. Oyeme
5. Holiday
6. Cannonology
7. Frenzy
8. Blues A La Machito
9. Conversation
10. Tin Tin Deo
11. Minor Rama
12. Tururato


Well, this is an interesting one. Imagine mixing Palo Congo with The Atomic Mr. Basie and you are around the right track. It has got all the swinging of Basie, plus the Afro-Cuban fire of Palo Congo without the crazy Santeria stuff. So the highlights here are both the ensemble swing band, but also the amazing drumming.

For these reasons the title Kenya is very appropriate to this album, the African influence comes through in the drumming, and this is reportedly Machito's most African influenced album. Unlike Sabu, Machito was actually born in Cuba and only moved to NY when he was 19, therefore he had had first hand experience of the traditional Cuban bands while growing up. This mix of jazz and traditional afro-cuban sounds is a very welcome exploration of the actual roots of jazz giving it yet another level of interest, mixing where jazz came from with what jazz is today into a very listenable experience.

So how does it compare to either Basie or Sabu? In my opinion it actually beats both of them by bringing together the best of both into a cohesive, fun, swinging whole. So another shake-ass album from some more masters of swing. Again, this is an album which gains a lot of power from actually having some knowledge of what came before, so hearing the Basie and the Sabu will greatly enhance the enjoyment of this album. But hey, its own merits are enough also. Do listen to the ending of the album. Probably the most unexpected end to any album reviewed until now. It will make you check your sound system.

You can stream it from Napster.

Or buy it at Amazon: UK or US

Track Highlights

1. Tururato
2. Conversation
3. Wild Jungle
4. Congo Mulence

Final Grade



Koalas are not bears.

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