Kenya

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Jim Allen
Machito's big band was one of the first and best exponents of Afro-Cuban jazz as we know it today. This 1957 effort focuses more on the African side of the Afro-Cuban equation; the album title/concept was chosen because Kenya represented the "New Africa" at the time, which dovetailed nicely with the new sounds Machito and company were laying down. The set opens with the heady rush of "Wild Jungle," a frenetic rumba with staccato horn punctuation cutting up the time atop a bed of fierce polyrhythmic percussion. The substantially more sedate title cut pursues a more conventional jazz melodic line until the coda, where a frantic rumba is again introduced to crank the tension ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Jim Allen
Machito's big band was one of the first and best exponents of Afro-Cuban jazz as we know it today. This 1957 effort focuses more on the African side of the Afro-Cuban equation; the album title/concept was chosen because Kenya represented the "New Africa" at the time, which dovetailed nicely with the new sounds Machito and company were laying down. The set opens with the heady rush of "Wild Jungle," a frenetic rumba with staccato horn punctuation cutting up the time atop a bed of fierce polyrhythmic percussion. The substantially more sedate title cut pursues a more conventional jazz melodic line until the coda, where a frantic rumba is again introduced to crank the tension level back up. "Oyeme" is a lesson in the possibilities of Afro-Cuban modality, as the rhythm and melodic variations are all wrung over a static, one-chord harmonic framework. The appropriately titled "Frenzy" makes good use of Machito's percussion section, pitting brass interjections over some unfettered percussive fury. Kenya's contrast between Machito's Afro-Cuban soundscapes and the solos of legendary U.S. jazzmen Cannonball Adderly and Doc Cheatham makes for a swirling stew of jazz con clave that no aficionado should be without.
All Music Guide - Tony Wilds
Classic Afro-Cuban jazz albums are not so plentiful that any can escape being called "essential." By 1958 the idiom had lost its original spontaneity and excitement, but new life had come from the recording possibilities of high-fidelity stereo. Kenya belongs to the style typified by Tito Puente's great work for Victor in this period. There are colorful African masks on the jacket, the obligatory dozen tight arrangements, three first-call percussionists, and a horn section guaranteed to be heard at least from one edge of Manhattan to the other. While Kenya can be thought of as formulaic, at least the formula was still relatively fresh and highly desirable. For all its homegrown, New York credibility, Kenya sounds very much like 1950s Hollywood. Television and film crime dramas of the period relied heavily on Latin and jazz, which helped to popularize Afro-Cuban jazz. The bombastic horns created suspense and excitement, while the bongos and congas signaled the exoticism and feverishness of a world slipping out of control. But the old complaint about Afro-Cuban jazz is the same as for other Hollywood jazz and even standard pop albums of the period: The tight arrangements and rhythm are fine for ensemble playing, but the horn solos fail to communicate the individualism and passion one expects from jazz. Consequently the most successful pieces, such as "Manteca," have a live, gritty sound, like a riot in an old New York nightclub. Kenya ranges in tempo from a Cuban blues "Blues á la Machito," to a fast rumba "Wild Jungle." Everything else falls between these, but mostly on the upbeat side. "Congo Mulence" is played in the "bata" style though probably without bata drums, and "Tin Tin Deo" is the Chano Pozo classic. "Minor Rama" and "Tuturato" are the most adventurous pieces. Overall, the Kenya powerhouse falls just short of being fantastic by sounding hurried, as if the studio clock was ticking. Perhaps too, a sense of anachronism even in 1958 affected the recording. In any case, it could have been produced as two very welcome albums, if not several.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/25/2000
  • Label: Parlophone (Wea)
  • UPC: 724352266821
  • Catalog Number: 226682
  • Sales rank: 41,978

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Wild Jungle - Joe Newman (2:47)
  2. 2 Congo Mulence - Joe Newman (2:56)
  3. 3 Kenya - Joe Newman (3:28)
  4. 4 Oyeme - Joe Newman (3:13)
  5. 5 Holiday - Joe Newman (2:49)
  6. 6 Cannonology - Joe Newman (2:31)
  7. 7 Frenzy - Joe Newman (2:42)
  8. 8 Blues a la Machito - Joe Newman (3:03)
  9. 9 Conversation - Joe Newman (2:58)
  10. 10 Tin Tin Deo - Joe Newman (2:57)
  11. 11 Minor Rama - Joe Newman (3:03)
  12. 12 Tururato - Joe Newman (3:11)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Machito Primary Artist, Leader, Maracas, Bandleader
Cannonball Adderley Alto Saxophone
Eddie Bert Trombone
Joe Newman Trumpet
Mario Bauzá Trumpet, Alto Saxophone
Candido Camero Conga
Doc Cheatham Trumpet
Paul Cohen Trumpet
René Hernández Piano
Jose Madera Tenor Saxophone
Jose Mangual Bongos
Rex Peer Trombone
Roberto Rodriguez Bass
Jose Silva Percussion
Bart Varsalona Trombone
Leslie Johnakins Baritone Saxophone
Paquito Davilla Trumpet
Francis Williams Trumpet
Pedro "Puchi" Boulong Percussion
Joe Livramento Trumpet
Ray Santos Jr. Tenor Saxophone
Santo Russo Trombone
Technical Credits
Gil Fuller Composer
Dizzy Gillespie Composer
Charles Mingus Composer
Ahmad Kharab Salim Arranger
Chano Pozo Composer
Mario Bauzá Arranger, Director
René Hernández Arranger
J.J. Johnson Composer
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