@@@ KOKOROKO | “Baba Ayoola” [Single] (Brownswood, 2020) I think got to this via the Line of Best Fit; this label releases a lot of music that smashes up Afrobeat, fusion jazz, and a wee sausage of hip hop. This track is closer to pure Afrobeat than other releases I’ve checked out. Strong but not overpowering horns, a lot of guitar noodling, little rhythmic bits floating here and there and some funky drumming. I like the horns, agnostic on the guitars, agnostic on the drums, that’s the view from here. A spacious and cloudy synth solo has entered the picture and I dig that. It provides nice contrast with the horns. The bass player is working pretty overtime pumping a more jazz fusion flow than traditional Afrobeat. The vocals are cool.
@@@ MISTA SAVONA PRESENTS HAVANA MEETS KINGSTON | “Beat Con Flow (feat Cimafunk)” [Single]| (Cumbancha-Baco, 2020) Slotted as Rock Y Alternativo on Apple Music I hear it more as Latin funk than rock. Shuffle beat over which a pretty huge stack of vocals gets its rhythm on, including some group rhyming/rapping. I have no idea what the rhyming is about but it sounds partyistic that’s for sure. Outside of the drums and the vocals there’s a baritone horn providing an occasional rhythmic punctuation, a vamping keyboard and then some scratched up vocals and some melodic horns to take you out. I like it.
@@@ Dafnis Prieto Sextet: No Es Facil (Self released, 2020) I’m not the hugest fan of Latin jazz as it tends to be on the low energy side and I do love me the high jazz energy, that’s just how my shit is wired. This opens with a restrained beat focusing on some tasteful cymbal work and horn work. Big big respect for including an accordion here as jazz accordion works for me quite bigly. Other instrumentation includes bass, a couple horns, and some tinkling piano rocking outside garnish. Tinkle tinkle tinkle, let’s drink flavored coffee. Like the horns, like the drumming, agnostic on the bass, dig the accordion, don’t love the piano, that’s the scorecard for me. You can tell this record is led by a drummer as the drums are ultra detailed and up high in the mix, just how I dig it myself. The song pivots about 2/3s of the way through and goes out on a much more energetic tip and I enjoyed the back half more.
@@@ Songhoy Blues: Badala (Fat Possum, 2020) I thought their first pre-release single was blazing but I think they might have loaded up on too much classic rock corn for my taste with this track, the first tune off their record. It’s pretty fly to hear an African dude singing his shit over this but the sounds could be more compelling. The drummer holds his own and more, I guess it’s the guitar players I’m a bit disappointed in. A better chord progression, some full on African guitar shredding a la the dude in Noura Mint Seymali’s band and I would be more interested. Oy, the second song hits and their playing a more standard African single line thing (in fact two dudes doing it) with some classic rock/garage punk tones and the whole thing is much more interesting. They shouldn’t have put the track below as the title track.
YTD recordings listened to: 922
Good music, not list worthy: 496
Not good music: 393
Honorable Mentions: 7
Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Noname, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Tarek Atoui, Saicobab, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief, Mariachi El Bronx, Pour Me a Grog, Sudan Archives, Lakou Mizik, Moodymann, Pharmakon, Alefa Madagascar, Janjao, Luge, Wiki, Mick Jenkins, Jeremiah Jae, Fera, Gambian Griot Kora Duets, Drama, Beatrice Dillon, Mass Worship, mmmonika, Les Deuxluxes, Tony Allen, Fra Fra, Nihiloxica, Hailu Mergia, Pokey LaFarge, Nico Gomez, Nohe and Sus Santos, Pole, Naeem, Mekons, Santrofi, DJ Nigga Fox, Flor do Toloache, Alexander Hawkins/Tomeka Reid, Shy One, Protomartyr, Nnamdi, Ekiti Sound, Awa Fall, 25,000 Kittens, Anjimile, Tristan Arp