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Osibisa - Osibisa CD (album) cover

OSIBISA

Osibisa

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.71 | 54 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

stefro
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Fusing the sounds of Africa with western rock and prog influences, Osibisa can lay claim to being one of the most original-sounding groups of the early 1970's, a time filled with a rich and diverse pallette of musical sounds and styles. Made up of four Africans and three Carribean members, Osibisa were formed by the one constant throughout their long career, the versatile and ambitious Ghanian saxophone player Teddy Osei. Osei immigrated to England in the late 1960's, and was forced to spend a few years washing dishes in an upmarket west end hotel before being able to piece together a group of musicians who could bring to life his sonic vision. Remember, this was a time before the term 'world music' had be coined, so Osibisa were genuinely breaking new ground by blending traditional African-and-Carribean rhythms within a rock context, giving them instant 'pioneer' status. They were soon picked up after a series of impressive gigs in-and-around London, and, in 1971, their impressive, self-titled debut - complete with Roger Dean-designed cover - was released to critical acclaim throughout Europe. Featuring a joyous and exotic mixture of flutes, saxophones, guitars, bongo's, trumpets and African drums, 'Osibisa' is that rare beast: a prog-and-jazz-tinged album that you can actually dance to. Each musician is given time and space to showcase his individual talents, with, in particular, guitarist Wendel Richardson(who would go on to replace Paul Kossoff in Free several years later) unleasing some scintillating solo's whilst Osei's sax adds tone and colour to the mainly upbeat selection of songs. A genuine party album, 'Osibisa' kick-started a long and memorable career for this most uplifting of groups, with their early-seventies albums such as 'Wowoya' and 'Heads' adding thick layers of jazz-fusion to their primary-coloured African-prog sound. Like many groups around the world, the 1980's saw Teddy Osei and co revert to a more commercial style as the popularity of more complex forms of music diminished, but the recent upturn in progressive rock's fortunes have seen the group revert to their original style with their 21st century albums, most notably their recent 2009 release 'Osee Yee'. Despite a career spanning thirty-odd years, Osibisa still enjoy a firm following throughout both Europe and Africa, and long may their invigorating brand of music continue long into our new, digital age. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
stefro | 4/5 |

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