Monday, September 28, 2009

Album Review: Pax Nicholas and the Nettey Family-Na Teef Know De Road of Teef

Na Teef Know De Road of Teef, the previously unreleased album from Pax Nicholas and the Nettey Family, is a seriously funky slice of afro-funk recorded in Lagos at the height of afrobeat's summit. Nicholas Addo-Nettey performed and recorded with Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Afrika 70 as a conga player and backup singer from 1971 until 1978 debuting on Shakara and leaving the band during the Berlin Jazz Festival along with Tony Allen and several others. While Allen moved to Paris, Nicholas stayed in Berlin where he continues to make funky music today.

Na Teef Know De Road of Teef was recorded at Ginger Baker's studio in Lagos, Nigeria in 1973, one of two solo albums Nicholas recorded while with Afrika 70. The album previously went unreleased at the behest of Fela who upon hearing how uncontrollably nasty the album was forbade it to be played again. As Nicholas was currently living under Fela's rule in the Kalakuta Republic, he had no choice but to obey. As a result the album was virtually unheard until Frank Gossner ( discovered it in a record store in Philly. He brought it to the attention of Daptone Records who gave the world a gift of extreme afrofunk flavor.

This album is heavy. As a percussionist, Nicholas emphasizes a rich texture of interlocking percussion that takes on the identity of the tracks. Nicholas' voice is melancholy and gloomy which matches the keyboards and guitar lines that have an underproduced raw feel. Na Teef Know De Road of Teef represents the craze James Brown unleashed across West Africa and the legions of musicians who were enraptured by the funky interpretation Africa had to offer. Pax Nicholas and the Nettey Family is a cut above the vast majority to come out of the Afro-funk wave. Nicholas and the other musicians playing on the album had the pedigree of Afrika 70, the band able to put the most unique stamp on afro-funk, and their musicianship and attitude is evident.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Album Review: The Budos Band-The Budos Band EP

The Budos Band EP, out June 2009 on Daptone Records, represents the latest progression of the eleven piece afro-funk ensemble. From their start, Budos has always had a complex, layered, deep rhythmic sound, but with each album (this is their third) they’ve advanced to new levels of intricacy and depth.

If their first album was an introduction, a beginning of exploration to the concept, and their second a refinement or improvement, The EP is a continuation of that process. The grooves are more enchanting, more captivating and ornate. The principal strength of Budos has always been its power and strength generated by their ability to mend sharply contrasting sounds like the deep baritone sax and the sharp, piercing, trumpets all the while maintaining a steady groove with their unshakable rhythm section. That theme is continued upon and improved in this EP.

While Budos is often in between genres and classifications, they have always been and will continue to be universally funky. If you like the first two albums, you're going to really like this one.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

DJ Underdog-Africa Plays On 3

He did it again. DJ Underdog came back to make the world dance for a third time with his monthly mixtape, Africa Plays On. Check it here, but be prepared to move.