Friday, April 20, 2012

Art Blakey & The Afro-Drum Ensemble -
The African Beat

Throughout Art Blakey's many recordings, the legendary jazz drummer often incorporated traditional African and Latin rhythms into his music. Classic records like Orgy in Rhythm, Holiday For Skins, Cu-Bop, A Night in Tunisia, and others found Blakey crafting a perfect blend of sounds that brought together both jazz music and rhythmic grooves from around the world. Another one of those groundbreaking recordings, which infused both elements of traditional African music and highlife grooves is the 1962 album The African Beat. On this record, Blakey is supported by an incredible line-up that includes Ahmed Abdul-Malik (bass), Yusef Lateef (tenor saxophone, flute), Curtis Fuller (tympani), and a number of additional percussionists like Solomon G. Ilori, Chief Bey, Montego Joe and others. The date, which has a heavy emphasis on African rhythms and percussion, features a number of great tracks including "Tobi Ilu", "Ife l'Ayo", "Obirin African", and my personal favorite "Ayiko, Ayiko". Overall, The African Beat represents just one of a string of recordings from Blakey that successfully blurs the lines between sixties-era hard-bop jazz and African grooves. Enjoy!

Art Blakey & The Afro-Drum Ensemble - Ayiko, Ayiko

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