Monday, June 4, 2012

The Intersection: Ebo Taylor

The Intersection is an ongoing feature on JazzWrap that looks at artists that have blended jazz, world and electronica in new and highly creative ways.

Ebo Taylor (vocals; guitar)
Appia Kwa Bridge (Strut Records; 2012)

Pretty much since arriving back on the scene (acclaim-wise) in the last five years, Ebo Taylor has become one of most notable world music/Afrobeat artists around. His last record, Love And Death was one of JazzWrap's records of the year in 2010. Now Taylor has done it again for us with the release of Appia Kwa Bridge.

A terrific blend of jazz, Africa and folk rhythms that is emotional powerful and musically stunning. Built around love, loss, fear and rejuvenation, Taylor takes you on a journey that is for brave. Beginning brightly is "Ayesama," a victory song of the Ghanain ethic group Taylor belongs to, the Akan people. This group holds great stature throughout the community, not in the sense of elites but in sense of standing up for what they believe. This anthem could easily be adopted as the sign of strength for others feeling oppressed and need to be uplifted and reach higher for victory.

"Nsu Na Kwan" builds on a number of percussive beats but is also driven by Taylor's soft and enthralling delivery both on guitar and vocals. "Appia Kwa Bridge" is a meeting place for friends, lovers and more to express their views and outlook on life, love and beyond. Boyuant and filled with dreams, this bridge could tell the story of many Ghanaians.

"Barrima" is the most affecting track on the album. Speaking directly to the loss of his wife just a few months ago, this track has all the emotional impact that live on its own from the rest of the album.  The piece is Ebo alone, on acoustic guitar with only his soul on show. Touching and embodying why music is important to our lives.

With Appia Kwa Bridge, Ebo Taylor has going back to his acoustic and lyrical roots. It's even more dynamic than Love And Death but shows the living legend has more messages to deliver to us all about life and how to live it. One of our albums of the year. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

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