Around 1970 Fela Kuti emancipated African music from American black music. His spontaneous mix of funk, jazz and African grooves had nothing to do with Euro-American market formats. Kuti's gripping condensation of storytelling, MC'ing, political slogans, flaming groove carpets, brass salvos and improv staccati was absolutely magical. Knitting Factory Records now brings the complete works of the master, who died in 1997, back into focus and publishes a compilation with an overview of his sound philosophy. Kuti could be as expansive as he wanted, vary tempo, density and melodic content in his long songs as often and spontaneously as he liked, and do whatever came to his mind. Everything sounds raw, unhewn, very direct. These tracks, which seem more like open jams than concrete pieces, have the feeling of an ancient tribal ritual. Especially in their temporal reverie - nobody would make records like this today - these recordings still seem highly topical.
Top track: Black Man's Cry