The debut album by Anthony Joseph & The Spasm Band lives up to everything that the ‘Buddha’ 12″ promised. Yep, it’s that good
The ‘Buddha/Bo Nuggy‘ release was an eye opening introduction to Mr. Joseph who has been based in London since 1989. He has been proclaimed as “one of the most exciting and innovative voices, poet, musician, performer, and leading writers of his generation.” Joseph’s latest novel, The African Origins Of UFOs’ deserves a musical backing and band of equal quality to the writing. The tribal Afro-spiritual jazz of The Spasm Band is more than suitable and adds the cutting edge required.
‘Black Dada’ is almost dubstep with vocals and the fact that ‘Extending Out To Brightness’ is a one-take Fela nyahbinghi session is even more impressive. ‘Kneedeepinditchdiggernigger’ (aka Chapter 1) is a funky groove workout with Joseph on long rap as if Yussef Lateef got busy with Issac Hayes a la ‘Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic’.
Joseph was born in Trinidad but the story of ‘Wallerfield’ protrayed here is rather disturbing and won’t be appearing on the tourist board website. This is the only warning as there is some highly evocative language at times; like “she would even let you lick her mastectomy scars.”
Many will know ‘Killer Joe’ as the cool strut jazz classic (many versions like Benny Golson, Jackie McLean, Richie Cole and Manhattan Transfer). This ‘Killer Joe’ is definitely not the same track as it’s more of a free-funk-voodoo workout. This is closest to an “Afro-psychedelic-noir” of the set and it’s my current favourite, but it’s all good stuff.
Like his generational predecessors of master poets (Benjamin Zephaniah, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Gil Scot Heron or even Sir John Betjeman) that have put their work to music, such projects bring the spoken word to a wider public. This excellent album will do the same for the book, which to be honest, I found hard work to get into.
Definitely an album for fans of Hu Vibrational (see the Boonghee Music series on Soul Jazz) and with Anthony Joseph & The Spasm Band now signed to the same label as Carlos Niño’s Build An Ark (with the ever brilliant Dwight Trible, Derf Reklaw and Joshua Spiegelman et al), what’s the chances of combining forces to form Spaceways vs. the African Origins of UFOs supergroup? Wow, what a project that would be!
Reviewed: Anthony Joseph & The Spasm Band — Leggo De Lion (Kindred Spirit) Cat No. KS 019 Release date: April 2007 (Distributed by Rush Hour)
1. Buddha (6:54)
2. Black Dada (5:30)
3. Extending Out To Brightness (7:10)
4. Wallerfield (7:12)
5. Kneedeepinditchdiggernigger (10:30)
6. On Kunu Land: Alfred Mac (11:09)
7. Killer Joe (9:46)
8. Hummingbird (4:12)
Anthony Joseph: poet
Andrew John: upright electric bass
Colin Webster: tenor saxophone and flute
Paul Zimmerman: percussion
Yinka Oyewike: electric guitar (‘Buddah’)
Wallerfield is an in Trinidad and Tobago. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallerfield
The African Origins of UFOs
Spaceways Radio Playlist
Isaac Hayes — ‘Walk On By’(Live at Music Scene 1969 Bozo)
Breast removal surgery / IN CELEBRATION OF A SCAR