Visionary album recorded in 1998 that mixes jazz with African and latin rhythms, old and new, and which helped bring South African jazz into the 21st century. The always on-point SA label Matsuli Music has given this landmark album a new life with a superb first time vinyl issue.
The highly gifted and deeply spiritual pianist, who long held an admiration for Herbie Hancock, tragically died shortly after the original release aged 27. His music was as eclectic as they come, with elements of Kwaito, Reggae, Latin rhythms and Drum’n Bass adding a fresh touch to his modern blend of SA jazz.
The music oozes with the uplifting spirit of an artist who, like many musicians of his generation, was inspired by the optimism of the post-liberation 1990s in South Africa and eager to experiment and give a fresh perspective to his native jazz scene.
Across eleven tracks combining the talents of multiple South African and world musicians, a killer reggae/kalimba groove is heard on ‘Down Rockey Street’, UK jungle on ‘Spirits of Tembisa’, the amazing Floria Purim makes an appearance on the great SA/Brazil latin jazz fusion of ‘Sogra (Mmatswale Mamazala)’, while the title track ‘Genes and Spirits’ does a great job at asserting a new jazz identity that was young, popular and African. As the aptly named ‘Dance to Africa’ pays its dues to the legend Hugh Masekela, the album closes on the majestic ‘Ntatemoholo’ a duet in 5:4 rhythm with Cuba’s Chucho Valdes which is dedicated to Taiwa’s pianist grandfather.
Presented in a deluxe gatefold sleeve and spread beautifully on a double LP and sounding nicely warm, this is an essential piece in the story of SA jazz and a must have for all jazz and hybrid music lovers.
Listen to the title track here: https://tinyurl.com/25fhw765