Friday, October 26, 2007

1001 Albums - Number 13

Machito – Kenya

Given the title (and the explicitly ethnic cover art) I was expecting something very African from Kenya, perhaps even more so than Palo Congo, so I was surprised to find that (to my ears at least) this album sounded about as African as the queen in blackface. This is really just me speaking from my modern presumptions of course, while my immediate association of peppy upbeat jazz is with unfunky white guys, it is of course perfectly correct to say it is an African art form.

Kenya's sound is roughly in the same genre as Palo Congo, but not by much. Where Palo Congo overlays African rhythms with Latin American guitars, Kenya tramples over those same rhythms with super cheesy, upbeat jazz.

But don't think that I didn't like this album, it's actually pretty enjoyable. Yes, the jazz is cheesy, (putting me in mind of kitsch classics ranging from the themes of old James Bond films to that of The Love Boat), but it somehow did more for me than Miles Davis last week. I guess it is at least partly because Machito doesn't make playing relaxed and happy music sound like such serious hard work. The conga rhythms are shoved far further into the background here than on Sabu's album, but they sound just as good as those on Palo Congo when they are allowed their own space.

To my surprise I'm quite liking this genre. Next up, Little Richard.

No comments: