This record brings to mind the vivid image of a sweaty tropical central-African bar late at night; pumping, militant grooves, bodies writhing to incessant disco beats at ungodly volumes. Percussion-laden madness, with sweet and funky horn-lines rolling in and out, rough guitars ‘chank-chank-ing’ away, as the vocal melodies weave over and around the instruments. Africa Airways One holds the occasional growl of an organ or a Fender Rhodes, particularly on Jo Bisso’s ‘Give It Up’ - which is an impressive composition, reminiscent of late 60’s soul-jazz masters such as Dr. Lonnie Smith and Jimmy McGriff.
These thundering rhythms are then interlaced with some interesting quirks that let you know you are definitely in mid-Seventies Africa. The curious addition of synth and syndrum in Jake Sollo’s ‘Father Time, Mother Nature’ bring an interesting twist to the otherwise conventional disco track that would easily compete with the American standards of the time. Also, in the track ‘Nande’ by African Soul Band, the traditional percussion is accompanied by an unexpected horn and string orchestration that really catches you off guard and lifts the song assuredly to the next level. There are delights such as these in all the tracks on this album!
This first ever release for newcomer Afrobeat label Africa Seven, this is an especially impressive debut. The well-presented vinyl edition gives us a taste of what may follow – finished up with lovely mastering and a good pressing, get your hands on African Airways One quickly, it’ll be selling very fast I can assure you!
Buy here: Jazzman Records