Listen to the Congo Train wailing through the night,
The Oriental jangle of the Cairo Bazaar,
And the smoke-filled nightclub in Mombasa After Midnight...
Listen to the heartbeat of a continent,
To the pulsing jazz beat of the most mysterious land,
And share the excitement of this,
LES BAXTER's thrilling adventure in exotic sound... AFRICAN JAZZ
AFRICA still echoes with the primitive beat. But the continent is no longer dark. For
ancient Africa has collided with the twentieth century and the result is a flamboyant
Les Baxter has set this explosion to music.
He has taken the basic rhythms... tribal chants, message patterns of the drums,
even the Watusi "nanigo" rhythms used in their ceremonial rites... all these he
used as the beginning for a dozen original, Africa-inspired compositions.
To thousands of record fanciers, the name of Les Baxter is synonymous with
exotic music. No one has been able to duplicate Les' music. One of the reasons is
that he continually devotes a part of his life to traveling around the world, studying
primitive music and instruments, understanding and absorbing them, thus enabling
himself to use them as a part of his own musical vocabulary.
Into these rhythmic and instrumental elements, Les pours a unique melodic and
harmonic approach, using traditional instruments in highly untraditional ways,
hearing and writing sounds that the instrumentalists have never before played, and
then combining all the devices of composition and performance into something so
unusual, so rich, so colorful that it bears the unmistakable stamp of Les Baxter.
In this series of vivid impressions, Les has employed the talents of some
outstanding jazz virtuosos. Larry Bunker is heard playing vibraphone, xylophone,
and marimba. Milt Bernhart is featured on trombone. And Plas Johnson provides
some surprising tenor sax passages.
High fidelity enthusiasts will be particularly appreciative of this album, for Les
displays not only the total exploration of instrumental tonalities but also the
imaginative use of non-musical sounds such as the thrilling rumble of echoing
thunder, the shriek of a train whistle, along with exotic African percussion
instruments. It is all part of the Les Baxter genius for creating a rich, singular,
ear-arresting kind of music, the kind found in African Jazz.