Babatunde Lea

Level of Intent

2004-02-18

Hot on the heels of last year’s well-received release from this jazz percussionist, Soul Pools, Babatunde’s label uncovered this early self-produced 1995 release that few had the chance to hear and packaged it for national distribution.

Lea is a New York kid who changed his name to ”Babatunde” after hearing the famed Nigerian percussionist Babatunde Olantunji (we have stuff by him in our library) at age 11. The kid never looked back. He has served as a session drummer for many, including Van Morrison, Stan Getz, Pharoah Sanders and Joe Henderson. On his own, his Afro-Cuban jazz rhythms make this music bounce.

The major jazz publications --- Down Beat, Jazz Times and Jazziz --- all rave about this guy. The opener, “Billy’s Bounce,” gets things started well and the other (longer) cuts allow the session players to stretch --- but all with that relentless Babatunde beat in the background.

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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