dedicated to the support of living musicians and composers

New Jazz From Innova: Talking Drums “Some Days Catch Some Days Down”

Innova is the home for New Music in America

i1
Talking Drums Some Days Catch Some Days Down
Innova 803 (7.26.11)

About this album Innova tells us,

“The music of Talking Drums moves fluently between jazz and African genres, bending and stretching categories, crafting and elaborating new spaces beyond them. Originally released in 1987, Some Day Catch Some Day Down enables us to hear a rare and unrepeatable moment of collective musical interaction. This moment arose from a fresh mix of new compositions by ensemble members and traditional music from Ghana, infused with a strong dose of West African highlife sensibility. An early review in Cadence enthused that such music ‘ is usually so joyous and infectious that it’s hard not to be drawn into it. So it is with this LP.’ Embracing the record’s double attraction, the reviewer concluded: ‘It’s very much dance music, but it’s also very good to listen to.’ Other writers dug into some of the reasons why:

Talking Drums…adds some modern instrumentation and faster rhythms to the highlife recipe, though some numbers here have a rootsier, almost reggae flavor…. The real breakthrough comes with “Ye’Pemso” and its fascinating mix of African influences and jazz improvisations. —The Chicago Tribune

…progressive basslines and guitar and sax solos blaze on top of Ewe and Twi rhythms, with textured percussion and chanted vocals creating not only feel-good dance music but an album of highly listenable songs. From the delicate guitar riffs and thickly woven instrumentation of “Tu Tu Gbovi” to the post-bop saxophone and furious rhythmic structure of “Ye’Pemso” (We Are All Struggling) and the redemptive title track, the album offers a high-spirited exploration of expansive multi-ethnic delights. —The Beat

Master drummer Abraham Kobena Adzenyah has led varied incarnations of Talking Drums from the 1970s to the present. Active during much of the 1980s, the ensemble on Some Day Catch Some Day Down was an especially exciting collaboration by Ghanaian and American musicians. Talking Drums produced the record as an independent LP album shortly before the late master musician and dancer Freeman Kwadzo Donkor, a key member of this version of the group, passed away. Donkor’s poignant voice remains with us on many tracks.

Reissued in 1989 and reviewed as ‘a rich and individual mix’ and “outstanding stuff” (All Music Guide), the LP still fell quickly out of print. This Innova release is the first digital version of its contents. Newly restored and remastered from the original analog master tapes, Some Day Catch Some Day Down is finally accessible to listeners who never could hear it until now. High-resolution remastering presents this richly intercultural music in more depth and detail than ever before.

Along with its eight actual CD tracks representing the complete Some Day Catch Some Day Down album, this Innova release is an Enhanced CD. It also gives you over 45 minutes of bonus MP3 files from a 1985 Talking Drums session. Rough around the edges but full of fresh, exploratory energy, this key earlier material had been available only on a long-rare cassette. Made by a version of the group featuring most of the same musicians who would record Some Day Catch Some Day Down two years later, the nine free bonus tracks document an equally unrepeatable moment of musical collaboration. These tracks, too, were specially remastered.

Some Day Catch Some Day Down will appeal to people who enjoy creative convergences of genres and traditions, especially jazz and African music, and to those focused on either one. All told, this Talking Drums reissue gives you not only the original LP’s complete eight tracks, but a total of no fewer than seventeen long-scarce recordings: more than 95 minutes of music that sounds as excitingly vital and culturally deep as it did on the days it was recorded. This all is now yours to have and to hear to full advantage in expertly remastered form.

TALKING DRUMS (1987 line-up): Abraham Kobena Adzenyah: David Bindman, Wes Brown, Peter Chipello, Freeman Kwadzo Donkor, royal hartigan, Robert Lancefield, Martin Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng. With guest artists: Agnes Adjetey, Leticia Ahima, Rick Alfonso, Ophelia Tetteh

Bonus Tracks on Enhanced CD:
MP3:1. Nnamfo Papa (5:47)
Composed and arranged by Robert C. Lancefield
MP3:2. Tie Me Sufrɛ (8:42)
Composed by David Bindman; lyrics by Maxwell Amoh; arranged, with traditional Adowa music, by Talking Drums
MP3:3. Mwanamugi (2:19)
Traditional; arranged by J. H. Nketia
MP3:4. Self-Determination (5:00)
Composed and arranged by Robert C. Lancefield
MP3:5. Kpanlogo (5:30)
Traditional; arranged by Abraham Adzenyah
MP3:6. Drummers Talk (first version) (4:50)
Composed and arranged by Robert C. Lancefield
MP3:7. Gadzo (4:23)
Traditional; arranged by Freeman Kwadzo Donkor
MP3:8. Devitukui (2:59)
Traditional; arranged by Kwasi Aduonum
MP3:9. Ade Asa (6:17)
Composed by Maxwell Amoh and Freeman Kwadzo Donkor; arranged by Talking Drums

Composers of each work:

Odo Bra:
Abraham Adzenyah
David Bindman
Wes Brown

Tu Tu Gbovi:
Traditional, arr.: Wes Brown
Freeman Kwadzo Donkor

Enfa Me Ho:
Peter Chipello
Martin Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng (lyrics)

Ye’pemso:
Abraham Adzenyah
David Bindman
Wes Brown
Peter Chipello
Freeman Kwadzo Donkor
royal hartigan
Robert Lancefield
Martin Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng

Drummers Talk:
Robert Lancefield

Ye’Ara Yeni:
Abraham Adzenyah
David Bindman

Mele Alo Dom:
Traditional, arr.: Freeman Kwadzo Donkor

Some Day Catch Some Day Down:
Robert Lancefield ”

Innova is the recording arm of American Composers Forum, St Paul Mn.
i1

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s