On 2011's Kaiso, trumpeter and bandleader Etienne Charles examined calypso, his native Trinidad's most famous cultural export, through the lens of 21st century post-bop. The end result expanded the reach of both musics without watering down either. On Creole Soul, Charles and his group use modern creative jazz to engage 20th century Caribbean folk and pop traditions throughout the Caribbean, from Trinidad to Jamaica, from Haiti to Martinique, in originals and covers.
Southern Culture On The Skids' new studio album, The Electric Pinecones, released September 16th on the band’s own imprint, Kudzu Records. Featuring a dozen original tunes - 11 brand new songs and a whole-lotta NOLA remake of the SCOTS classic, “Swamp Fox”.
This set, with its powerful melodies, brilliant playing (note the superb horns) and all round attitude, is a sparkling reminder of how reggae sounded when it first influenced the world music scene in the Seventies. But it afso bears testimony to the sophisticated consciousness, wisdom and Afrocentric worldview that were the trademarks of the Rasta rebel soul at that time. This music had weight. That 'Roots' and 'Culture' became pilloried cliches at the beginning of the 80s says something about the rot that had set in at the heart of reggae - and just as much about, how times had changed. The idea of Roots - kind of personified by Alex Haley's mid-Seventies book and TV series of the same period - typified the search for an African identity, after centuries of physical and then economic slavery, amongst Jamaican youth.
Frankie Valli has recorded only sparingly as a solo artist, and virtually never after the late '70s. But in 2007, with his recurring appearances on The Sopranos and the success of the Four Seasons-based Broadway smash Jersey Boys, Valli's fame was higher than it had been in 30 years, and he returned with the solo album Romancing the '60s.