Ebo Taylor Sings About Love And Death

Strut link up with one of the true greats of Ghanaian music, Ebo Taylor, for his first internationally released new studio album in over 20 years.

Following the wartime big band highlife pioneers like E.T. Mensah, Taylor became a major figure in Ghanaian highlife during the 1950s and ’60s as highlife exploded. Cutting his teeth with leading big bands like Stargazers and Broadway Dance Band, Ebo Taylor quickly rose through the ranks and became a prolific composer and frontman. Taylor moved to London in 1962 to study. “I had the Black Star Highlife Band sponsored by the Ghanaian High Commission, mainly comprising music students. We tried to incorporate jazz into highlife and progressed through talking and through jam sessions, trying to develop our skills and ideas.”

Back in Ghana, Taylor became an in-house arranger and producer for labels like Essiebons, working with other leading Ghanaian stars including C.K. Mann and Pat Thomas. “I was paid to write for them and we made some great records. People were trying new things – I always loved C.K. Mann’s Funky Highlife. It was fresh.“ Through the mid-‘70s and into the ‘80s, Taylor then recorded a number of solo projects, exploring unique fusions and borrowing elements from traditional Ghanaian sounds, Fela’s Afrobeat, jazz, soul and funk. Tracks like “Heaven” now stand as among the best Ghanaian Afrobeat of the era.

Interest in Ebo Taylor’s music has grown in recent years with a series of Ghanaian compilations on Soundway Records and Analog Africa and an unexpected sample as Usher lifted a riff from “Heaven” for his hit with Ludacris, “She Don’t Know.” A new Ebo Taylor album was a natural progression. “For new album, I wanted to advance the cause of Afrobeat music. Fela started it and we shouldn’t just abandon it. We should push it so it is a standard form of music.“ The result is a firing new set backed by Afrobeat Academy and involves members of German analog funk combo Poets Of Rhythm. Tracks include new versions of Taylor classics “Victory” and “Love And Death” and a selection of new compositions including “Kwame,” celebrating Ghana’s late, lamented leader Kwame Nkrumah.

Ebo Taylor’s Love And Death will be released in CD / 2LP / digital formats. He will be touring with Afrobeat Academy beginning in December 2010.

Tracklist
1. NGA NGA
2. AFRICAN WOMAN
3. LOVE AND DEATH
4. VICTORY (Instrumental)
5. MIZIN
6. KWAME (Instrumental)
7. ABOREKYAIR ABA
8. OBRA

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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