TITLE: From Africa With Fury: Rise
LABEL: Knitting Factory
REVIEW: 29-year-old Seun Kuti is the youngest son of Afrobeat founder Fela Kuti; Seun has been singing with Fela’s Egypt 80 ensemble since his father’s death in 1997; this is the second CD documenting a new era in the history of one of the world’s most illustrious bands. There are now thousands of groups playing Afrobeat, but none of them sounds quite like Egypt 80 -- for power, drama, great horn arrangements (the background singers are used like an additional horn section) and total dedication to polyrhythmic groove, Egypt 80 under the musical direction of 75-year-old baritone sax player Lekan Animashaun really can’t be beat. They’ve modernized their sound somewhat (the new material is played up to 50% faster than the 1970’s classics), but this is not Afrobeat-hyphen anything -- it’s the straight stuff. Seun does a fine job on the songwriting and singing, and he’s a better saxophonist than his father ever was. But make no mistake, the band is the star here. An indispensible record, certainly one of the best of the year.
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