King Sunny Adé had been making his own music since 1974 with his group the Green Spots before creating his large African Beats group. This band, despite making literally over 100 records in Nigeria, failed to stir much Western interest until Mango Records, a subsidiary of Island, took a chance and issued the breakthrough album Juju Music in 1982. With its seven extended cuts, it introduced King Sunny Adé & His African Beats to the U.S. as well as England and most of the rest of Europe – save for France, where the band had previously been able to tour. This U.K. two-fer reissue of 1983's Synchro System and Aura (on Cherry Red's T-Bird imprint) is comprised of the other two recordings in the band's Mango catalog (the band was dropped after sales of these two recordings proved disappointing to label bosses who tried to market Adé as "the new Bob Marley").
King" Sunny Adé (born Sunday Adeniyi, 22 September 1946) is a Nigerian musician, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and a pioneer of modern world music. He has been classed as one of the most influential musicians of all time.
Quite possibly the most beautiful and influential West African record ever released internationally, Juju Music remains a revelation. With a phalanx of electric guitars that functions like a percussion section, and talking drums that sound like a gossipy Greek chorus, Nigerian juju star King Sunny Ade and His African Beats, all 20 of them, proved that African music could be as complex, dramatic, and symphonic as any European ensemble. Some thanks must go to French producer Martin Meissonier, who took the basic elements of Ade's sound–unison guitars, Yoruban drumming, seamless song medleys, and self-reflexive lyrics–and added a diverse assortment of Jamaican production techniques to heighten, deepen, and psychedelicize a sound that, with Ade's deliciously sweet vocals and the haunting strains of Demala Adepoju's Hawaiian steel guitar, was plenty wild to begin with. A masterpiece
Michael Messer is a virtuoso slide guitarist who has one of the best bands performing some of the greatest blues tunes produced this century. His playing encompasses the entire history of the blues but is totally individual and contemporary. His use of turntables in the band adds a new element to the music and Messer s haunting vocals ooze authenticity and integrity. The American magazine, Spirit listed Michael as one of the greatest slide guitarists ever alongside Duane Allman and Ry Cooder. Re-issue of his rare 1996 album.
A cerebral soul-jazz trio gives up some art and some funk with guest horn players and guitarist Marc Ribot. They call it "Shuck It Up," and rightly so, since they're neither as dissonant nor as ironic as many of their peers playing around downtown New York City. But that doesn't explain why these three don't swing as hard playing Monk, Coltrane, and King Sunny Ade as they do laying down their own earnest grooves and dismantling Bob Marley for mixing up with the Monk. Whether it's insecurity, indifference, or the physical chops they haven't developed to match their minds is for demanding listeners to decide. Or else it's all the same dilemma and will go away with time, just like the band's slow tunes.
This retrospective of the legendary Cameroon saxophonist Manu Dibango includes 10 prime examples of his eclectic style, including his internationally successful hit, "Soul Makossa", the percolating percussion and layered brass of "Africadelic", and the '80s disco of "Sun Explosion".