Suite Unseen: Summoner of the Ghost by Babatunde Lea
One of the best new releases I have heard in a long time! Babatunde's Suite Unseen is a masterful expression of talent and passion. Not only is Babatunde a brilliant drummer and percussionist he is equally adept as a composer and educator. This disc is very passionate and spiritual. Filled with as much heart at as "Blood on the Fields," by Mynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. The suite is comprised of five movements: Ancestral Stroll, The Unseen, Spirits of the Wood, From Home and Summoner of the Ghosts. "Ancestral Stroll" is based on an African phenomenon, Africans believe in ancestral worship or calling on the ancestors. The trombone and tenor work is masterfully done. Babatunde really lets the drums "speak" while he is nearly the vessel through which their message is delivered. Movement two, "The Unseen," represents the composers the ancestral presence and the presence of their spirits. Movement three, "Spirit of the Wood," is a very cool percussion feature which will transport you directly to the heart of Africa. Movement Four, "From Home," starts out with a Yorba chant to the deity Yemaya, the female deity over the ocean. Babatunde sings three more chants during this movement. This movement expresses the feelings of lost spirits on the ride home across the Atlantic Ocean through the Middle Passage. In the final movement, "Summoner of the Ghost," Babatunde summons the ghosts of his dead ancestors who were influential in affecting his existence. The piano and bass playing on this CD are as strong and equal to anyone. They compliment the music well, provide great solos and make the charts complete. Other notable songs on the CD are Richard Howell's "The Bay Area's Afro-Latin Funky Love Shuffle," an infectious composition that will leave you singing it for days to come. Steve Turre and Richard Howell blend masterfully and their solos are fun and interesting. With Glen Pearson great contributions on piano this CD is sure to be a hit for years to come.