The Lagos Music Salon

The Lagos Music Salon

by Somi


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The Lagos Music Salon

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.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/05/2014
Label: Masterworks
UPC: 0888837963022
catalogNumber: 379630

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   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
Fela Kuti   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
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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