December 23, 2008

Coup de maître

This may not be the most opportune moment to start about a 'coup' in reference to Guinea. While writing this the initial reports of a coup d'état by the military -only hours after the death of President Lansana Conté- are being contradicted by governmental sources.
But I'm just quoting the sleeve of this great album by the Palm Jazz from Macenta on the Syliphone label, a label closely connected to the Guinea of former President Ahmed Sékou Touré. The quote is about new groups, and how they can succeed or fail. "Un coup d'essai peut être un coup de maître", which translates (awkwardly, I admit) as "a tentative sweep can be a stroke of genius".

They were too modest.
One only has to listen to this brilliant recording to detect the blatant genius. And I am not just talking about the orchestra, but also about the superior recording quality. I am sure the Syliphone recordings will be condemned as being technically inadequate by western sound technicians. Instruments can disappear in the background, vocals can hoot in a single channel, there can be tape errors, hums, noise, musicians coughing.... And that's just what I love about these albums. They're alive. And will remain alive for ever.

My two favourite tracks on this album are the last two. First the extreme energy of "Gbangba Gnale" (what this he is singing about "Saint Nicolas"??), and then an absurdly bluesy blues track "Kobogui" with 'late night solos' by the trumpet and sax players.

SLP 73


jeanluc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jeanluc said...

Nice piece of music. I think the chorus of the first tune I know in another version from Bembeya Jazz.

For the last tune, to me it is a bolero. The rhythm is afrocuban from early days. You can dance salsa to it.

Anonymous said...

wow wow a wonderful x-mas gift
many thanks

WrldServ said...

I know it's a 'bolero' (although somewhat removed from the Cuban rhythm, - which by the way is still being played in Cuba today). Maybe I should have written "bluesy bolero"?

'Madomany' is a tune also played by the 22 Band (and certainly by others as well).

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you on the sound issue--these albums breathe in a way more 'advanced records often don't. I've been looking for this one for some time now. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

This album is as fragrant as its cover. Great!

Many thanks for giving us an opportunity to hear artists which would be pure unobtanium otherwise.

joe f