May 26, 2011

Western Jazz Band | Songs Of Happiness, Poison & Ululation

ARTIST:  Western Jazz Band
TITLE:  Songs Of Happiness, Poison & Ululation: Dar Es Salaam Dancing Club 1973-1975
LABEL:  Sterns 
REVIEW:  East Africa expert Doug Paterson adds another notch to his reissue belt with this well-conceived collection, his third for Sterns in association with AI Records of Nairobi, Kenya.  You’d have to be a real African music maven to be familiar with Western Jazz Band, who entertained their compatriots who migrated from Tanganyika’s Western Province to the busy port city of Dar Es Salaam starting in 1959.  Western’s style, which is called saboso, is closely related to the better-known Congolese and Kenyan styles of the same period -- indeed, Congo exported not only records to East Africa but also musicians, as quite a number took up residence in neighboring countries where they could be bigger fish in smaller ponds.  There’s loads of lovely two-guitar arrangements here where the second part is really equal in stature and importance to the solo; percussion is mostly on conga drums, many songs feature a horn section, and the vocals shine throughout.  If you like classic Congolese music, give a listen to the sounds from just across the border.
REVIEWER:  Bill Lupoletti 
TOP TRACKS:    3    7    15 
ALSO RECOMMENDED:    1    2    13

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