Modern Sound Quintet **** Otinku
Inspired by The Modern Jazz Quartet, they swapped vibes for steelpans.
The title track, written by I Ghanaian conga player Kofi Ayivor and Barbadian pianist John Roachford, introduces the Modern Sound Quintet's philosophy in just under four minutes of hypnotic percussive rhythm. Blending African tribal beats with calypso, reggae, high life and modern jazz, this is music as possibility and cultural unity.
Recorded in Stockholm in 1971 for EMI Finland, it's historically important, as one of the first records to introduce steelpan to Europe via the band's Trinidadian pannist Rudy Smith. He's behind the captivating originals Sugar Daddy, Ursia and Flamenco Groove. The remaining tracks include covers of Herbie Mann's Memphis Underground, here a furious furore of trap drums and pans, and Miles Davis's Bag's Groove, an experiment in jazz subversion and jarring pan dissonance. Lois Wilson