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The Lagos Music Salon

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
The Lagos Music Salon is jazz hybrid singer and songwriter Somi's fourth studio full-length, and her debut for Sony's OKeh imprint. Sometime after her Live at Jazz Standard set in 2011, she moved from New York to Lagos, Nigeria, searching for a mercurial "something" that would open new directions for her voice. Keeping a diary there, she wrote down her experiences and observations, and stories she gathered. Here, she weaves them wholesale into song form. Recorded in Nigeria and New York City, the album features her American band -- guitarist Liberty Ellman, pianist/keyboardist Toru Dodo, Nigerian bassist Michael Olatuja, and drummer Otis Brown III -- and numerous African ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
The Lagos Music Salon is jazz hybrid singer and songwriter Somi's fourth studio full-length, and her debut for Sony's OKeh imprint. Sometime after her Live at Jazz Standard set in 2011, she moved from New York to Lagos, Nigeria, searching for a mercurial "something" that would open new directions for her voice. Keeping a diary there, she wrote down her experiences and observations, and stories she gathered. Here, she weaves them wholesale into song form. Recorded in Nigeria and New York City, the album features her American band -- guitarist Liberty Ellman, pianist/keyboardist Toru Dodo, Nigerian bassist Michael Olatuja, and drummer Otis Brown III -- and numerous African musical guests. Though Somi's music has always employed African influences, it's never been to this extent. These songs seamlessly integrate jazz, classy soul, and sophisticated pop with African melodic and modal themes, styles and rhythms. Their narratives are often delivered in griot-like manner. Opener "First Kiss: Eko Oni Baje" is a field-recorded dialogue with a Nigerian customs officer at the airport. It's one of several such bits here. "Love Juju #1" is a slippery, seductive number that enacts the "spell" of seduction through contemporary jazz, highlife, and King Sunny Ade's signature juju music. Angélique Kidjo guests on "Lady Revisited," which extrapolates Fela Kuti's original; its Afro-beat rhythms and pulsing modal vamp -- as well as a killer saxophone break -- are refracted through modern creative jazz. "Brown Round Things" relates the story of a young prostitute. Somi's delivery is heartbreaking in its restraint yet confronts the listener with the woman's side of the story, daring the listener to remain unmoved. Trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire delivers an accompanying fill, underscoring the meaning in each line and spiraling it out. "Akobi: First Born S(U)N" is funky, horn-driven jazz with a stretched-out bassline and an electric piano functioning like a kalimba; its group chorus is sung in Yoruban -- one of several dialects utilized here. "Four African Women" is gloriously militant in its sociopolitical statement (as are "Still Your Girl" and "Four.One.Nine"), but is delivered with bluesy phrasing -- à la Abbey Lincoln -- driven by Olatuja's infectious bassline, Dodo's spacy Rhodes, a serpentine Ellman solo, tight syncopated snare breaks by Brown, and a layered female backing chorus. The sultry, soulful quiet storm ballad "Last Song," is the set's first single, but is far from predictable as the drum kit and bassline pick up the tempo and break the melody open, transmuting the song's form without sacrificing its elegance. The Lagos Music Salon is not only Somi's finest recording to date, but stands with Dee Dee Bridgewater's classic Red Earth as an album that expertly explores the symbiotic relationship between American evolutionary music forms and their mirror image in modern African pop. It does so with a passionate conscience, a maestro's discipline, and the wide-angle vision of a true artist.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/5/2014
  • Label: Masterworks
  • UPC: 888837963022
  • Catalog Number: 379630
  • Sales rank: 10,829

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 First Kiss: Eko Oni Baje (1:25)
  2. 2 Love Juju #1 (3:22)
  3. 3 Lady Revisited (3:55)
  4. 4 Ankara Sundays (5:18)
  5. 5 Ginger Me Slowly (4:04)
  6. 6 When Rivers Cry (4:28)
  7. 7 Brown Round Things - Ambrose Akinmusire (4:30)
  8. 8 The Story of Monkey (0:53)
  9. 9 Akobi: First Born S(U)N (4:07)
  10. 10 Two-Dollar Day (5:51)
  11. 11 Still Your Girl (4:47)
  12. 12 Four.One.Nine (3:32)
  13. 13 Love Nwantinti - In His Image (2:11)
  14. 14 Four African Women (6:36)
  15. 15 Hearts & Swag (1:17)
  16. 16 Love Juju #2 (4:21)
  17. 17 Last Song (4:21)
  18. 18 Shine Your Eye (3:23)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Somi Primary Artist, Vocals, Background Vocals, Spoken Word
Angélique Kidjo Vocals, Background Vocals
Cochemea Gastelum Saxophone
Common Vocals
Liberty Ellman Guitar
Conrad Harris Violin
Keith Witty Bass, Percussion, Background Vocals, Double Bass
Toru Dodo Piano, fender rhodes
Caleb Burhans Viola
Peter Sachon Cello
Ambrose Akinmusire Trumpet
Michael Dease Tenor Saxophone
Cobhams Asuquo Percussion, Vocals, Narrator
Christophe Panzani Flute
Pheel Vocals
Michael Olatuja Bass
Alicia Olatuja Background Vocals
Otis Brown III Drums
Sheldon Thwaites Percussion, Drums
Pauline Harris Violin
Wura Samba Percussion
Ikon Vocals
Ayanda Clarke Percussion
Jerrick Matthews Trombone
Abraham Lanlate talking drum
Jinmi Sonuga Vocals
Chima Eluwa-Henshaw Choir, Chorus
Nigerian Immigration Officers Vocals
Neema Lazzaroni Children's Voices
Karibi Fubara Background Vocals
Kamal Ajiboye Vocals
Sula Kalski-Caines Children's Voices
Ré Olunuga Background Vocals
Priscilla Nzimiro Vocals, Spoken Word
Olaitan Dada Choir, Chorus
Uzo Enemanna Choir, Chorus
Technical Credits
Nina Simone Composer
Dave Darlington Engineer
Jean Hébrail Engineer
Common Composer
Federico Ruiz Art Direction
Michael Thomas Engineer
Keith Witty Composer, Producer, Engineer, drum programming
Laura Kszan Product Development
Jennifer Liebeskind Product Development
Toru Dodo Composer
Somi Composer, Lyricist, Producer, Executive Producer, Field Recording
Chris Soper Engineer
Etienne Charles Horn Arrangements
Hervé Samb Composer
Cobhams Asuquo Composer, Producer, drum programming
Michael Olatuja Composer
Danielle Warman Engineer
Derik Lee Engineer
Maria P. Marulanda Art Direction
Dave Kutch Mastering
Fela Anikulapo-Kuti Composer
Michael Boyd drum programming, Additional Production
Bojan Dujic Engineer
Ibuku Adugba Engineer
Enoch Ojemuare Engineer
Nelly Uchendu Composer
Mojisola Sonoiki Field Recording
Teju Cole Liner Notes
Ré Olunuga Composer, Additional Production
Olusola Raji Engineer
Olaitan Dada Engineer
Uko Ini-Obong Composer
Temitayo Yekini Engineer
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