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2009 - week 31, from Saturday 1 August

PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:36 pm
by Charlie
Seq - Artist - Song Title - Album - Country - Label - Cat no

1 - Roy Nathanson - Party - Subway Moon - USA - Yellowbird - yeb 7711 2

2 - Allen Toussaint - St James Infirmary - The Bright Mississippi - USA - Nonesuch - 400076

3 - Keletigui et ses Tambourinis - Tambourinis Cocktail - Keletigui et ses Tambourinis: the Syliphone Years - Guinea Conakry - Sterns - STCD3031-32

4 - Sister Fa - Milyamba - Sarabah - Seegal - Piranha - CD-PIR 2334

5 - Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara - Tonia Yima - Tell No Lies - UK & Gambia - Real World - CDRW 170

6 - Ali Akbar Khan - Guru Bandana [feat Asha Bhosle) - Legacy - India - Triloka - 7216-2


Roy Nathanson
Napoleon Maddox

We don’t play a lot of jazz in this programme, but recently it has been sneaking in. Roy Nathanson is the sax-playing leader of the Jazz Passengers, perhaps best known (if known at all) as the vehicle for Deborah Harry after she abandoned her Blondie persona. No Debbie here, but Roy takes on the lead vocals himself, telling stories of life in the city, among which this one struck a particular chord, as Roy describes getting up very early to travel by subway to Manhattan where he saw an inspirational girl on the train. Note the human beat box rhythm track from Napoleon Maddox. And great alto sax from Roy.

Allen Toussaint
Marc Ribot [photo courtesy ]

I’ve already played ‘St James Infirmary’ from Allen Toussaint’s album The Bright Mississippi and it still sounds the best track after listening to the record several times. The whole thing is very agreeable, but somehow this is the one where everything worked perfectly, particular the acoustic guitar from Marc Ribot and Allen’s own magical piano.

Keletigui et ses Tambourinis

In many ways, I learned about modern West African music backwards, first encountering Youssou N’Dour and Orchestra Baobab from Senegal and then working through the various bands from Mali – The Rail Band of Bamako, Les Amabassadeurs – before realising that the story had really started in the early 1960s in Guinea Conakry. Sterns Records and Ibrahim Syllart are helping to present the real history with a series of reissued albums drawn from the Syliphone label, of which the latest is from Keletigui et ses Tambourinis whose leader Keletigui Traoré played sax and flute.

Sister Fa

For listeners based in West Africa, playing that old music is all very well, but what about the modern sound? On ‘Milyamba’ from her new album Sarabah, Sister Fa effectively frames her rap with a traditional vocal group chorus.

Justin Camara and Justin Adams

And still in West Africa, here’s Juldeh Camara from Gambia in partnership with British guitarist Justin Adams. Some of the tracks on their new album feature Justin playing with a sound closer to rock than blues, but on ‘Tonia Yima’ Justin keeps the rhythm going on acoustic guitar while adding a couple of rockier overdubs. Again, the backing vocals work very well to make the whole thing feel cohesive.

Ali Akbar Khan
Asha Bhosle

I am ashamed to admit that I had not realised what an important musician Ali Akbar Khan was until his recent death inspired effusive obituaries which made clear not only what a master Ali was (playing the sarod) but what a painful childhood such a musician must endure as their teacher (in this case, his own father) insists on a punishing regime of endless practice. The outcome is that his pain resulted in music than provided exquisite pleasure for listeners, especially in this duet with Asha Bhosle.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 7:42 pm
by judith
I think I've mentioned before that I like to pick out my own imaginary themes for Charlie's shows, sort of halfway between a guess at what he is going for and the un-programmed coincidences that touch on the personal ear and the synergisms that always occur around music. Doing so highlights the unexpected, and that's one of the exciting, magical things about music, I would say, the unexpected.

At first read, I was confused by the titles on this show as well as totally in the dark about some of the artists. Then, Roy Nathanson's 'Party' really threw me, "what in the hell has Charlie got going here today?" until I stopped wondering what it was and why Charlie was playing it and started listening. It's absolutely wonderful - the sounds, let alone the musical and the story aspects. Then, amazingly and far too soon, there is a slight and subtle fade off to that tune's sax which is immediately followed by a soft strum of guitar, delicate piano riff and Allen Toussaint's 'St James Infirmary' comes right on in as the train leaves. From when I was a small child, my parents (on piano and saxophone) used to play and sing and that was my favorite of their tunes. To this day, I listen to every recording I come across of 'St James Infirmary' (Isn't it one of Norman's that way too?) and since I've heard this version, it has stayed nearly always up top and is one of my favorite Toussaint songs as well.

I love the history lessons and music news events in these weekly shows, subtle, quick, yet thorough. I now have been introduced to the story of Guinea Conakry (beyond djembe rhythms) and the work Sterns and Syllart are doing in regards to that history. And, with Sister Fa, that there is more going on nowadays accompanied by the kora than I've previously heard - the shift from solo singing to spoken 'rap' is ever so slight, really, but striking. I had to smile when, in the middle of 'Tonia Yima', I heard what might have been echos of 'Party's train sounds within the rolling right along rhythm.

Last of all here, Thank you, Charlie, for the song and the tribute to Ali Akbar Khan. The choice with Asha Bhosle is quietly beautiful.

My theme for this show is 'subtle', I could have used the word more than twice.

PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2009 10:01 pm
by r.allibone
you say that you do not play much jazz. But what is jazz ? I think that you include musics that contain elements of and similarities to jazz. Your contribution from Guinea being an example and I thought ali akba khan was playing pure blues. Would people who know about music like to comment, expand?

How about a programme of jazz from around the world, keeping it gillettified by making sure bands had a regional flavour south african, west african, latin carribean perhaps Scandanavian, French maybe even some british trad?

could you one day include something from wynton marsalis' congo square, dee dee bridgewater's red earth and rabih abou khalil's international band?


PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:53 pm
by Charlie
email from: Peter Hunn

1. Hi Charlie,

Thanks for some entertaining music last night,

I appreciate that your time is precious BUT, please persuade the Beeb
to give you at least an hour that is unless your age is catching up with you, Hahahahah.

I particularly liked Keletigui et ses Tambourinis,

Before I leave you to your rusks and milk, have you ever come across Ramsay McKay, I used to like in particular 'The witchdoctor of Hillbrow'
and 'The blind boys of the mist'

In fact the album is worth a listen too, Probably your 'Cup of tea'

certainly ALL the S Africans of our age will remember it, and knowing your broad knowledge of music I think you would have come across it
albeit it's from 82. ( Yikes)

Thanks for the show
Peter Hunn