Bandleader extraordinaire Machito was born in Cuba, and the "original Mambo King" utilized that country's indigenous rhythms throughout his career. As its title implies, though, this 1957 release finds Machito turning an ear towards the African side of the Afro-Cuban jazz style he helped to pioneer. The energy level on KENYA is astounding, and there's virtually no letup. Under the direction of Machito and his brother-in-law/right-hand man Mario Bauza, the ensemble tears through a dozen cuts with such disciplined ferocity it's a wonder anyone was left standing at the end of the session.
Francisco Raúl Gutiérrez Grillo (Havana, 1912? -84), aka 'Machito', a very influential Cuban musician with his music, helped improve both the initial Afro-Cuban jazz and salsa and created Cubop (fusion of Cuban music and jazz bebop). Machito performed and recorded with his band, the 'Afro-Cuban' under the musical direction of Cuban Mario Bauza, between 1940 and 1980. His style was a huge attraction effect by other famous jazz bands and performers such as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Stan Kenton, George Shearing, etc.., who went into the world of Latin jazz after his experience with Machito. In this recording Machito combined all necessary elements to express the true meaning of Afro-Cuban jazz.
Debut album from Chicago based Kenya McGuire Johnson, ‘My Own Skin’ is a strong, 14 track album of well crafted smooth soul tracks and uptempo, funkier grooves.
Monday 2nd May 2016 is the World Anti-Doping Agency deadline for Kenyan athletics to put its house in order. In this Unreported World, which transmits three days before that critical date, Ade Adepitan travels to Kenya to hear allegations of continued doping and corruption. Kenyan long-distance runners often dominate at the Olympics, at World Championships and on the professional marathon circuit. As Adepitan says, 'Running to Kenyans is like football to Brazilians: they absolutely love it.' But Adepitan finds Kenyan athletics in crisis. Since 2012 more than 40 athletes have failed doping tests.
"…The quality of the music is relatively good, though there are now more authentic pieces on the market, of course. Still, despite tiny bits of forgivable cultural ignorance, the album is a worthwhile soundbite into Kenyan traditional music."