Rejoice is the classic collaboration between Tony Allen, the legendary drummer and co-founder of Afrobeat, and Hugh Masekela, the master trumpet player of South African jazz. The record, released to great acclaim in March 2020, became the first posthumous release from Masekela, and the last release from Allen, who sadly passed away a month later.
For this Special Edition, World Circuit have gone back to the original 2010 mixes and added previously unheard parts from the 2019 sessions to create 8 reimagined bonus mixes. The LP release also features a booklet with sleeve notes and photos.
Having first met in the '70s thanks to their respective close associations with Fela Kuti, the two world-renowned musicians talked for decades about making an album together. When, in 2010, their touring schedules coincided in the UK, the moment presented itself and producer Nick Gold took the opportunity to record their encounter. The unfinished sessions, consisting of all original compositions by the pair, lay in archive until after Masekela passed away in 2018. With renewed resolution, Tony Allen and Nick Gold, with the blessing and participation of Hugh Masekela's estate, unearthed the original tapes and finished recording the album in summer 2019 at the same London studio where the original sessions had taken place.
Rejoice can be seen as the long overdue confluence of two mighty African musical rivers - a union of two free-flowing souls for whom borders, whether physical or stylistic, are things to pass through or ignore completely. According to Allen, the album deals in "a kind of South African-Nigerian swing-jazz stew", with its roots firmly in Afrobeat. Allen and Masekela are accompanied on the record by a new generation of well-respected jazz musicians including Tom Herbert (Acoustic Ladyland / The Invisible), Joe Armon-Jones (Ezra Collective), Mutale Chashi (Kokoroko) and Steve Williamson.
It's like you're standing by Allen's drum kit as Masekela and the band play in front of you. As expected, Masekela's flugelhorn playing is brilliant, effortlessly bouncing off the rhythm section, with bass duties shared between Mutale Chashi and Tom Herbert. The latter is part of a strong Brit-jazz contingent that includes neglected sax player Steve Williamson, who interplays superbly with Masekela, especially on 'Agbada Bougou.' Singing and chanting in English, Yoruba, and Zulu give the record extra vim. It sums to a blend of bebop, Afrobeat, and, for me, even trip-hop in such tunes as 'Slow Bones' and 'Jabulani (Rejoice, Here Comes Tony).' There is upbeat funk, as in 'Never (Lagos Never Gonna Be the Same)' with its chants of the title, and 'Without Fela,' paying tribute to the late Fela Kuti - which perhaps epitomizes why this is such an uplifting record. There is loss, and passing, but hope continues. The spirit is renewed.
- Special Edition
- 180g Vinyl
- Double LP
- LP 1: Original 2020 album
- LP 2: 8 reimagined bonus mixes featuring unheard parts from 2019 sessions
- Booklet with sleeve notes & photos
- Gatefold jacket with obi strip
- Made in Germany
- Robbers, Thugs And Muggers (O'Galajani)
- Agbada Bougou
- Coconut Jam
- Never (Lagos Never Gonna Be The Same)
- Slow Bones
- Jabulani (Rejoice, Here Comes Tony)
- Obama Shuffle Strut Blues
- We've Landed
Special Edition Bonus Mixes
- Robbers, Thugs And Muggers (O'Galajani) (Cool Cats Mix)
- Agbada Bougou (Cool Cats Mix)
- Coconut Jam (Cool Cats Mix)
- Never (Lagos Never Gonna Be The Same) (Cool Cats Mix)
- Slow Bones (Cool Cats Mix)
- Jabulani (Rejoice, Here Comes Tony) (Cool Cats Mix)
- Obama Shuffle Strut Blues (Cool Cats Mix)
- We've Landed (Cool Cats Mix)