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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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BABATUNDE LEA

SOUL POOLS

MOTEMA 7-09363-7136-2


Babatunde Lea - drums & percussion

Ku-umba Frank Lacy - arr., trombone, trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals

Hilton Ruiz - piano

John Benitez - bass

Mario Rivera - soprano & tenor saxophone, flute

Kevin Jones - percussion

Recorded at Showplace Studios NJ. 2002

1. Confrontation

2. Jackie And The Beanstalk

3. Isabella

4. Round The World

5. Whoa Baba!

6. 1055

7. Ejercito Moreno

8. Yerba Buena

9. Outlyer

10. Soul Pools

11. Carolyn's Dance

BONUS CD :

The Babatunde Lea Quartet

Live At Rasselas

Babatunde Lea -drums & percussion

Hilton Ruiz - piano

Geoff Brennan - bass

Ernie Watts - tenor saxophone

August 2002

1. Footprints

 

I had never heard of Babatunde Lea before, but I will be awaiting further releases under his name with great anticipation. Lea is that rarity of a performer in that he is a drummer and a leader and at the same time is not looking to turn each number into a percussion extravaganza. I have nothing against drum solos or even the odd highly percussive arrangement, but I am sure that like many other listeners I can have too much of a good thing. Suffice it to say that Babatunde plays with great skill and taste throughout.

Lea has assembled a stellar cast of musicians for this date and it must be said that they deliver well up to expectation. The music is varied and impossible to consign to any specific category. There are Latin influences alongside pop, avant-garde, funk and fusion. The whole melts down to some really swinging jazz that iseasy on the ear and yet creative enough to offer a challenge to the more discerning purchaser. With the tenor/trombone front line there are obvious similarities to The Crusaders and yet the group has a sound and style all of its own. This must be an incredible band to catch live.

The soloists are all top drawer with special mention going to Mario Rivera, Frank Lacy and Hilton Ruiz. The vocals are excellentand the range and quality of material is first rate. The bonus CD which features the amazing Ernie Watts is a real treat. There is not enough new material available at present by this most gifted contemporary saxophonist and to have this performance at no extra price is a strong recommendation for buying this issue while stocks last. This is one of the most exciting new releases to come my way in recent months - it is like a breath of fresh air after so many re-packaged offerings. One not to miss!

 

 

Dick Stafford


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