Not one to shy away from political confrontation in his music, Seun Kuti, yes, the son of Fela, has a new video out called IMF − yes, named after that institution of neoliberal economic warfare, but this time it’s been branded “International Mother Fucker”. The song features on Kuti’s new Robert Glasper-produced album, titled A Long Way to the Beginning. It is currently out in Europe and will be released in the United States and in Africa in May. In the video, Kuti plays the role of an IMF ‘zombie’ who turns Nigerians into greedy zombies. “So much stealing from the IMF / Manipulation from the IMF / Intimidation from the IMF,” sings Kuti, backed by great Afrobeat horns and a killer rhythm. The track also features a verse from Dead Prez’s M1.
Then something else we thought was very cool at The Con was this cover of Kendrick Lamar’s Rigamortis done by up-and-coming young American jazz pianist Kris Bowers. It is well worth checking out. Jazz website Revive has reported that Lamar’s original track samples a composition by Eric Reed called The Thorn. Reed happens to be Bowers’ mentor and his former teacher while he was at Juilliard.
Staying on the jazz front, The Con has been loving this new album by New York-based Japanese trumpeter Takuya Kuroda. It’s called Rising Son and features the ever impressive trombonist Corey King, who plays with guitarist Matthew Stevens in ERIMAJ, the jazz fusion band started by Christian Scott’s drummer Jamire Williams. The album also features pianist Kris Bowers, as well as electric bassist Solomon Dorsey and drummer Nate Smith. Check out the track Afro Blues, a jazz-Afrobeat hybrid that has our feet tapping and heads nodding, or watch the video for the title track below.