Way back in the days of bus services, long summers and local rumours, village shops with news stands the length of one wall, recreation grounds with wardens chasing you off the grass, where even the smallest village had a library, news filtered to us through the NME or Rolling Stone that a new release was on its way. We waited for the date excitedly and then headed for the shop to buy it – unheard. Unbelievable, isn’t it, to you instant access streamers ?
But during those days the anticipation pleasurably built. I remember walking the 10 miles or so to the record store for The Grateful Dead’s “American Beauty” and then again for The Doobie Brothers “Touloose Street”. Walking because I was in the mood for a sloooww summer walk.
And the records stuck with you. You immersed yourself in them. You sat by your player wearing out the groove. It was about 10 years before I heard CSN&Y’s “Carry On” in full – without the chip in the intro that made my copy skip. But I digress.
When music giants orbit the earth once in a while they will come together and something special will happen. Since I heard about the collaboration between Hugh Masekela and Tony Allen I was filled with the same expectation as I used to get, waiting for the moment I could sit in silence for an hour and just listen, uninterrupted, and enjoy and absorb.
Hugh Masekela, one of the world’s greatest trumpeters, and Tony Allen, the world’s best drummer (? – discuss) crossed paths in Paris in 2010 and went into the studio for a couple of days to jam before their schedules took off again. Drums and Trumpet – that was it. What a notion. The “tapes” sat around – and sat some more – until Tony Allen took them up and added sympathetic colour with a bit of bass, sax, vibes, percussion here and there. The drums and trumpet were done already.
The album was released in March, shortly before Tony Allen sadly passed away, Hugh Masekela having succumbed to mortality in 2018.
What we have here in “Rejoice” is the coda to the lives of two of the greatest musicians to play for us mortals.The mix is sparse, mainly drums and trumpet with extra dashes here and there, tastefully done. And, it is wonderful. It benefits from slipping the headphones on to fully appreciate the multi-rhythm of the drumming and the sweetness of the trumpet tone.
Impossible to pick out a favourite track. It’s an album that you will wear out in the old fashioned way. Just 40 minutes long, with an exquisite retro jazz cover (love it), do the right thing and stream it then download it then lay back and listen.
Album of the year already. Don’t see anybody beating this. Joy. What a legacy.