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Just for the record: How to get more than Hugh bargained for


Just for the record: How to get more than Hugh bargained for

A fortnightly review of music on vinyl

Andrew Donaldson

It’s taken a while but Rejoice (World Circuit/BMG), the pan-African collaboration between the late Hugh Masekela and legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen was finally released on Friday on 180g vinyl. The two first discussed making an album together back in the 1970s, shortly after their first meeting, which came about thanks to their respective close associations with Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, musician and human rights activist, Fela Kuti.

 That discussion dragged on for decades and it wasn’t until 2010, when Bra Hugh and Allen’s touring schedules coincided with dates in London and the UK that producer Nick Gold, whose World Circuit label has brought us the Buena Vista Social Club albums and introduced such African legends as Ali Farka Toure, Orchestra Baobab and Toumani Diabate, among others, to international audiences, brought them together in a studio.

The sessions that followed were never completed, but they were fruitful, and produced a number of original compositions by Allen and Masekela. It was only after the latter died in January 2018 that Allen and Gold, with the permission of the Masekela estate, decided to finish the album. Work began on the original tapes in mid-2019, with contributions by musicians said to represent a younger generation of jazz artists, including bassists Tom Herbert and Mutale Chashi, saxophonist Steve Williamson and Joe Armon-Jones on keyboards...

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