Martin Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng / Afrijazz
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cd cover Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng
Afrijazz (Innova Recordings)

The artist says: "It is a reflection of the spirituality achieved through mixing many musical forms from Ghana with other forms from the African Diaspora and other places. I am talking about an environment where ancient values and customs are a way of life." - KKO

Percussionist Obeng presents a program of music that is as beholden to the modern masters of jazz as to the ancient spirits of Ghana, an avant garde look at ancient heritage played out on the hands of an extraordinary musician

KKO (drums/vocal); Wes Brown (bass); Bill Lowe (trombone); Alvin Carter (drums); Taylor Ho Bynum (trumpet); Dominick Kanza (guitar)
Plus special guests: Paul Austerlitz (bass clarinet) and Roni Arbo (vocal)

Kids - Konko-Da

'Afrijazz is percussionist Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng's shout-out to the inspirational spirits of Monk, Randy Weston, Max Roach, Anthony Braxton, Chief Bey and a host of kindred others. Kwaku brings together the sounds of his native land with African-Brazilian, Jamaican and African American strains, in an imaginative recording whose genius reveals its embedded subtleties only gradually.' - RootsWorld

"This music says something profound about homo sapiens' rhythmic ingenuity and the enduring power of the drum (even our earliest ancestors had the funk, apparently) ľAlternative Press

The record label says:
The record is called Afri-jazz. The sound is otherworldly, the rhythms- Africa with a 21st century jazz state of mind. This world belongs to master drummer Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng (aka KKO). He started out in the Royal Court of Ghana as a drummer, came to the U.S., and has since played with different sorts of kings; guys like Max Roach, Roy Hargrove and Anthony Braxton.

The sounds found on this little plastic disc will take you back to a different time; one that never existed! Imagine Kenny Clarke born in the heart of Africa and you begin to get the picture. Did we mention the ultra groovy cover of "Round Midnight " for bass clarinet and tom toms? This is a terrific record; truly striking.

The artist's bio:
Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng, one of the master drummers of his generation, brings the spirit, culture and music of West Africa to the world. Using traditional African rhythm patterns and techniques, he creates compelling original compositions. A Royal Court Drummer at age seventeen, KKO gained a far-reaching knowledge of the rich and varied music of and dance traditions of West Africa.

He later toured the world as a cultural emissary with Ghana's National Arts Council Folkloric Company and was further influenced in the United States by masters of jazz, funk and reggae. KKO's interpretations of these myriad forms make the drums sing not just with rhythms but also with surprising melodies and counterpoints. His virtuosity in plaing is marked by lightning speed and an effortless power. KKO's music bridges cultures and creates connections.

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