JULIAN "CANNONBALL" ADDERLEY-Alto Saxophone
DOC" CHEATHAM -Trumpet
RAY SANTOZ JR.-Tenor Saxophone
IN RECENT YEARS, Africa, the dark
continent, has been exposed to the light of modern times. The
forward progress of civilization has caught up with this once
strange and unknown land of mystery.Kenya, the newest of the
African republics, in a large measure represents this new Africa.
This is why Machito, one of the foremost delineators of
Afro-Cuban jazz has appropriately chosen Kenya as the title of
this album. For just as Kenya stands for the new Africa, it
represents here in this collection of sides the newest in
In this album, Machito has combined all the elements needed in bringing the true meaning of Afro-Cuban jazz music to the listener. Of course, the listener's next question is, "Just what is the true meaning of this music.?" Machito, Mario Bauza, his musical director Rene Hernandez and A. K. Salim who along with Mr. Bauza composed and arranged this recorded material, define it this way: Afro-Cuban rhythm differs from other rhythms in that instead of the usual drums carrying the rhythmic beat, it is carried by Cuban percussion instruments such as the bongos, congas, timbales, guiros and maracas. Also, and even more elemental, is that although there are four beats to the bar as in all jazz, in Afro-Cuban jazz the beat is not played by any instrument as such. It is felt, rather than actually heard. Afro-Cuban jazz is, in its performance, the marriage of Afro- Cuban rhythm and jazz soloists.
Having equipped ourselves with this basic definition, we are now ready to make our safari through the musical realm of "Kenya."
WILD JUNGLE-Written by Mario Bauza and Rene Hernandez, this number is a Rumba Abierta, a fast, all-out, open rumba. Both "Doc" Cheatham and Joe Livramento, on trumpets, take up the solo chores and at the close of the number there is a return to the original rumba beat which features Candido on the conga drums.
CONGO MULENCE-Written by A. K. Salim, this number is a combination of many things. The Afro-Cuban rhythm used here is known as the "Bata" which is carried by the conga and bongos. The "Bata" is a rhythm used in spiritual ceremonies, and while it is being played here the guiros beat out a "cha cha cha" rhythm. Julian "Cannonball" Adderley on alto saxophone and Joe Newman on trumpet are featured soloists.
KENYA-The album title, written by Bauza and Hernandez, is a beautiful lullaby more melodic in content than most numbers in this collection. With Ray Santoz Jr. on tenor sax and Jimmy Russo on trombone, the lullaby is the soft ceremonial.part which later becomes a fiesta. This is accomplished by the same melody being played in a fast rumba rhythm. Then, Jimmy Russo's trombone returns the number to the original lullaby heard at the opening.
OYEME-A. K. Salim has composed and arranged this material so that it is basically built on one chord. Claves (sticks), cymbals and bass introduce the composition and then "Cannonball" on alto and Joe. Newman on trumpet hold a conversation with each other declaring as the title translated implies, "listen to me."
HOLIDAY-A muted trumpet playing on a happy note introduces this festive "holiday" mood played in a "cha cha cha" rhythm. "Doc" Cheatham is heard as trumpet soloist. "Holiday" was written by Bauza and Hernandez.
CANNONOLOGY-This was written by A. K. Salim for the express purpose of creating a framework to showcase the great alto-sax performance of "Cannonball." The material permits him to blow and express himself with complete freedom. At the close of the number, Jose' Mangual is heard on the bongos.
FRENZY-"Frenzy" is just that; a conglomeration of riffs to set off the trombone solo work of Eddie Bert and two of Machito's top percussionists, Candido and "Patato"on the congas.
BLUES A LA MACHITO-Trumpeter Joe Newman has been connected for some time with the Count Basie school of modern blues. Here, A. K. Salim has written a Cuban blues in the modern idiom which is played in the Afro-Cuban, Machito style, as a setting for Newman's performance.
CONVERSATEON -Again a blues, but this time it is a Deep South blues which is played against a "Bata" rhythm. The "conversation" here is held in the opening and closing themes between the various sections.
TIN TIN DEO-This is the only number not specifically written for this album. "Tin Tin Deo" was composed by the late Chano Pozo for Dizzy Gillespie. Pozo also wrote the famous "Manteca" for Dizzy. Here, the theme is introduced by Santo Russo on trombone. There is some ad lib trumpet work by "Doc" Cheatham and also some incredible high notes hit by Francis Williams on trumpet.
MINOR RAMA -A. K. Salim has written a minor-type modern blues in a mambo rhythm kick. Heard as featured soloists: Joe Newman on trumpet and "Cannonball" Adderley on alto.
TURURATO-A wonderful piece for the modern dance enthusiast, "Tururato" means a dizziness, a rocky feeling. This idea is translated musically by the unorthodox melody of the number and the trumpets as they enter one at a time until all four are playing. A highly effective execution of the pyramid chord is displayed in this number, which again features Joe Newman and "Cannonball."
To sum up, if one were seeking an overall conception or theme to this album, it would simply be this: Machito, and the talented musicians responsible for this collection, have created an Afro-Cuban setting for the various jazz soloists to express their ideas unrestricted in free blowing style. Whether you are a jazz enthusiast or not, once you have heard this album you will discover that musically, "Kenya" is highly exciting and provocative listening pleasure.