Apr 12, 2010

Hugh Masekela - The Boys Doin' It

South African trumpeter, composer, and bandleader Hugh Masekela blew open international music doors in 1968 with his surprise hit, "Grazing in the Grass," which quickly pushed African popular music into the spotlight. But it wasn't until Masekela signed with the then-new Casablanca Records and released this CD that he traded in the nuances of jazz for a slew of steamy West African dance and African American funk. With "The Boy's Doin It" Masekela took a new band, with musicians steeped in Nigerian and Ghanian pop music like highlife and juju, into the studio. The resulting CD overflows with funky horn charts and swirling West African pop rhythms, as well as telltale signs of the 1970s. Melodies brightly mix R&B and nascent strains of pre-disco, and the vocalists make great antiphonal contributions, not unlike Fela Anikulapo Kuti's bands of the time. As a reissue, an additional six out-of-print tracks are added to the original issue of "The Boy's Doin It," solidifying this as a vital Masekela item.


«Hugh Masekela has an extensive jazz background and credentials, but has enjoyed major success as one of the earliest leaders in the world fusion mode. Masekela's vibrant trumpet and flugelhorn solos have been featured in pop, R&B, disco, Afropop and jazz contexts. He's had American and international hits, worked with bands around the world, and played with African, African-American, European and various American musicians during a stellar career. His style, especially on flugelhorn, is a charismatic blend of striking upper register lines, half valve effects, repetitive figures and phrases, with some note bending, slurs and tonal colors. Though he's often simplified his playing to fit into restrictive pop formulas, Masekela's capable of outstanding ballad and bebop work. […]

No other work during Hugh Masekela's long and fruitful career blended all of his interests – jazz, funk, pop, Afrobeat, and R&B, plus a little Latin and a lot of disco – into such an exciting mixture as 1975's The Boy's Doin' It, his first record for Casablanca. Influenced by Kool & the Gang as well as the growing tendency for Latin artists (like Joe Bataan) to cross over toward contemporary dance trends (and labels), Masekela recruited a few veterans from the Ghanian highlife band Hedzoleh Soundz – with whom he'd worked with on one album before. Recorded in Lagos, Nigeria and dedicated to Fela Kuti, The Boy's Doin' It has six extended jams, each of which does an excellent job of playing off deep grooves against ensemble vocals and catchy hooks, with plenty of room for Masekela's own trumpet and every note polished to a fine '70s sheen. It didn't matter what type of music fan you were: pop, disco, funk, world music, and any but the most hidebound jazz purist could get into these tracks.»



01. The Boys Doin' It 4:04
02. Mama 5:10
03. Excuse Me Please 6:21
04. Ashiko 9:36
05. In The Jungle 5:12
06. A Person Is A Sometime Thing 6:36
07. Colonial Man 5:03
08. A Song For Brazil 4:11
09. Toejam 4:31
10. Hi-Life 9:32
11. You Told Your Mama Not To Worry 7:18
12. Mami Wata 3:35

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