‘I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free’ and more from Bammi Rose and Adrian Reid
Jools Holland Rhythm and Blues Orchestra saxophonist/flautist, a founder member of legendary 1970s street funk Afrojazz pioneers Cymande Mike “Bammi” Rose, joined by Cymande pianist Adrian Reid on Nord keyboards continued their regular residency in the congenial and relaxed surroundings of the House of Tippler on London’s Lordship Lane in East Dulwich as World Cup fever began to grip the capital.
Performing after the Portugal v Spain game (a Portuguese supporter at the bar who had watched the match on television compared Ronaldo understandably to Eusébio) Bammi, you might remember hearing him for instance on Charlie Parker’s ‘Barbados’ from Jazz Jamaica’s excellent 1990s album Skaravan got into his stride when he switched from flute to tenor as the pair performed with a backing rhythm that introduced a light Caribbean twist on such early set numbers as Dave Brubeck’s ‘Take Five’ and Billy Taylor’s joyous ‘I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free’ and then with more of a carnival feel the classic ‘St Thomas’ synonymous with Sonny Rollins. Reid’s own album Nyanza Street I enjoyed a few years ago and it was somehow fitting even if completely by chance to hear the pianist south of the river. Photo + text: marlbank. Mike Bammi Rose above left and Adrian Reid at the House of Tippler.
On a Friday
Unveiled for the first time live in front of a receptive crowd at 229 The Venue last weekend the beguiling ‘On A Friday’ from indie four-piece DropPink, who played a blinder.
The octogenarian hugely influential highlife innovator Ebo Taylor, above on a track taken from Yen Ara released back in the spring by Mr Bongo, is currently taking in Euro jazz clubs on tour (playing with his Saltpond City Band at Porgy and Bess in Vienna and New Morning in Paris this week). Highlife is traced back to the early 20th century, a style that emanated from Africa’s Gold Coast, a country which in the post colonial era as British rule in Africa crumbled, became the independent nation of Ghana from 1957. The style is about self-confidence and took off after the second world war and is a blend of jazz, blues, reggae, and later funk. Osibisa, founded in London, are one of the best known highlife bands internationally. As for Taylor himself he was significant in Ghana during the Highlife heyday of the 1950s and 60s, a member of the Stargazers among other bands. He studied in London in the early-1960s and in the decades that followed added his old friend Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat style among a host of ingredients to blend with his beloved traditional Ghanaian musical traditions long incorporated into his own sound.