Artists
Billy Brooks Burt Thompson Carlos Santa Cruz Donald Coleman
Information
Genre
Country Folk Jazz World
Release Date
01.01.1971
Information

This 1971 recording is something special – no chordal instruments, no horns, four Americans and one Cuban performing traditional African and Afro-Cuban pieces in a live spiritual ritual of drumming, chants, and song. Known for his work with Woody Shaw and Eddie Harris, American percussionist Billy Brooks moved to Europe in 1964, where he has played with the likes of Tete Montoliu and Dusko Goykovich. The African-rooted El Babaku is the group’s theme song, with Brooks playing bass block flute and leading the call and response. Orisha, a traditional Nigerian song of the Yoruba, is a vocation to the gods. Brooks’ jazz drumming and interplay reflects the African heritage that runs through jazz. Aino Buca is a traditional Cuban piece given to the group by Tete Montolu’s Cuban wife. Cuban conga player Carlos Santa Cruz, a friend and student of the legendary Cuban conga player Chano Pozo, takes over most of the ritualistic chants while Brooks concentrates on bamboo flute, singing through the instrument ala Roland Kirk. Al Hajj Malik Al Shabbazz has Brooks honoring Malcom X’s memory. Here, as in other pieces, the bass functions as a drone, much like the rababab in Arabic music. Lament, a Nigerian song of mourning and loneliness, functions like a jazz ballad for voice and drums. El Lupe Chango celebrates the Yoruban god Chango who reigns over the world with lightning and thunder. Carlos sings with Brooks on the African dun-dun and traps. Brooks says it best; “The ecstasy I get in music comes from group drumming. It’s more than musical – it’s spiritual.”

Artists
Billy Brooks Burt Thompson Carlos Santa Cruz Donald Coleman
Information
Genre
Country Folk Jazz World
Release Date
01.01.1971