London Is The Place For Me 2: Calypso And Kwela, Highlife And Jazz From Young Black London Honest Jon's Records
London Is The Place For Me
2: Calypso And Kwela, Highlife And Jazz From Young Black London
Honest Jon's Records
‘Vibrant and beautiful almost beyond words, the fifty year old recordings being collected on Honest Jons’ London Is The Place For Me series are giant and precious treasures of early black British music. Exquisite artistic achievements in their own right, they also throw light on the early development of post bop jazz in the UK.
Volume one in the series, released in ‘02 and subtitled Trinidadian Calypso In London, 1950-1956, features all-but-forgotten masterpieces of reportage, social commentary and louche wit from Lord Kitchener, Lord Beginner, the Lion, and other recently arrived young calypsonians. This second volume, subtitled Calypso And Kwela, Highlife And Jazz From Young Black London, concentrates on the same period but widens the geo-stylistic net.
‘Featured musicians, caught early in their careers and still working within the rich contexts of their native folk musics, include trumpeter Shake Keane from St. Vincent, later a collaborator in Joe Harriott’s free jazz explorations, but in ‘55 on Baionga in exuberant jazz-highlife mode; clarinetist Willie Roachford and trumpeter Harry Beckett, from Barbados, soloists in Ambrose Campbell’s jazz-infused West African Rhythm Brothers highlife band; and from South Africa, alto saxophonists Gwigwi Mrwebi and Dudu Pukwana, together with two of Pukwana’s Blue Note colleagues, pianist Chris McGregor and trumpeter Mongezi Feza.
‘Mrwebi’s Nyusamkhaya, which also features Pukwana, is a Fort Knox-certified 24 carat early kwela mothernugget, the man’s Africanized Earl Bostic sound fully and gloriously developed. The bass player is Coleridge Goode, from Jamaica, who later played key roles with Harriott and with John Mayer’s seminal Indo-Jazz Fusions project. Pukwana, Feza and McGregor add a township-jazz dimension to Nigerian Tunji Oyelana’s Omonike.
‘Jazz also gets lyric and stylistic look-ins on two early-mutant calypsos: Young Tiger’s Calypso Be and King Timothy’s Gerrard Street. Tiger ridicules the “monstrosity” which is bop, but nonetheless includes a stirring bop-informed solo from Jamaican tenor saxophonist Sam Walker. Timothy instead celebrates the music, and London’s modest then-answer to 52nd Street, Soho’s Gerrard Street (but asks, “Another thing I don’t realise/Why they all have dark glasses on their eyes?”)
‘Straightahead calypso at its finest comes on Kitchener’s My Wife’s Nightie — where, unembarrassed by his own infidelity, the singer demands of a one-night stand that she ”Come back with mi wife’s nightie/Or I charge you for larceny” — and Lion’s masquerade-spooky Kalenda March, catching a similar shiver-up-the-spine vibe as Beginner’s awesome “Fed-A-Ray” on volume one.
‘Truth is, there are no standout tracks here. It’s all wall to wall magic and beauty and loose-limbed dance rhythms. But Campbell’s percussion-only Ashiko Rhythm — a mellow hand drums, thumb piano, and gong-gong workout on the basic shave-and-a-haircut/two-bits beat — and the Rhythm Brothers’ delicate and lullaby-like closer Sing The Blues can’t go by without mention.
‘Musical value aside, London Is The Place For Me 2 is also an acutely timely reminder of the glory that is London’s multicultural mix—something we cannot allow to be destroyed by the psychopathic death cult behind this month’s bomb outrages in the city. One love.’
DER Platten Laden überhaupt am Ende der Portobello Road Londons. Egal ob spektakuläre Reissues oder super aktuelle und grossartige elektronische Musik - Honest Jon's hat die Finger im Spiel. "Informal University for music lovers" - wird der Laden liebevoll genannt und ist seit 1974 das Herz der Londoner Musik Community. Das Label Honest Jon's wird unter anderem von Notting Hill local Damon Albarn mitbetrieben. Seit 2008 veröffentlicht Honest Jon's immer wieder Leckerbissen aus den 150 000 78 - rpm Aufnahmen aus den klimakontrollierten archivräumen der EMI archives in Hayes England. Erhältlich bei: Kitchener Bern www.honestjons.com Honest Jon's is an independent record shop based on Portobello Road in Ladbroke Grove, London, operating since 1974. The shop is owned and run by Mark Ainley and Alan Scholefield, who took over from one of the original proprietors, "Honest" Jon Clare. Their record label of the same name is run in conjunction with Damon Albarn, who has been quoted as saying: "I don't really like the term world music. Wherever it comes from, it's all just music, isn't it? Hopefully that's what Honest Jon's is about - to open a few minds to what's out there." The shop sells a multitude of genres of music on vinyl and CD, specializing in jazz, blues, reggae, dance, soul, folk and outernational. It runs a mail-order business from www.honestjons.com. Formed in 2002, the label has released compilation albums such as its London Is The Place For Me series, excavating the music of young Black London, in the years after World War II ("a fascinating archive of material from the 1950s and 60s, chronicling a time when diasporic rhythms were more or less the sole preserve of the small communities responsible for bringing them to these shores"); also collections of British folk, Port-of-Spain soca, Afro-Cuban jazz from the Bronx, Jamaican dancehall; and retrospectives of artists including Moondog, Maki Asakawa, Bettye Swann and Cedric "Im" Brooks & The Light of Saba. It has released original music by Candi Staton, Actress, T++, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Mark Ernestus, Trembling Bells, The Good, The Bad & The Queen, Simone White, Shackleton, Michael Hurley, Terry Hall, and the Moritz Von Oswald Trio. It recorded the chaabi orchestra of Abdel Hadi Halo on location in Algiers; Lobi Traore and Kokanko Sata Doumbia in Bamako; and Tony Allen in Lagos. In 2008, Honest Jon's began a run of compilations of early recordings — mostly drawn from the EMI Archive in Hayes, Hillingdon — stretching back to the start of the twentieth century, covering all corners of the world: from the break-up of the Ottoman Empire more than a hundred years ago, to 1950s Beirut, to late-1920s Baghdad, to 1930s East Africa. wikipedia