NEPO SOTERI, NOTED WORLD-JAZZ GUITARIST, RELEASES “RWANDA & BEYOND”
Rwandan-born guitarist, bassist, and singer NEPO SOTERI is pleased to announce the launch of his latest independently -produced CD, “Rwanda & Beyond”. As with his two previous albums, “Mother Nature” (2001,) “Listen To Your Heart” (2004), his music reveals a much-traveled composer and bandleader who has successfully channeled a world ofinfluences into an instantly recognizable, highly individual sound.
Each tune represents a souvenir of Mr. Sotieri’s physical and inner journeys. “Unkundire” (Love Me For My Heart) features South African mbaqanga-like horns and hints of Procul-Harum-esque keybords while the reggae-flavored “Umvijwe” (Listen) drops anchor elsewhere in the African Diaspora. “Ayeye”(Let Us Work Together) commences with abrupt horn licks before tearing into subtly-marked triple-rhythms, and “Feel The Rhythm” is a sax-led, jazz-pop ballad with a pillowy keyboard solo, the whole underpinned by an insistent bass line. “Ayiwe”(Sympathy) sways along, with soft vocals and sweet guitars but the strutting “Peace On Earth” seems to dance for joy. A big-band groove propels “Muraho” (Hello), the vocals and solo guitar flitting over choppy, irregular bass-and percussion. “Kwanini” (Why?) begins with a brief nod to Isaac Hayes then returns to Southern Africa with a sassy, slapping backbeat and rounded, silky lead guitar. The final selection, “Keep The Groove,” combines a spirited melody and mellifluous vocal harmonies with propulsive guitar lines reminiscent of Nigerian AfroBeat.
The participants’ backgrounds are similarly eclectic; Mr. Soteri (lead vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, bass on track 4) is joined by Curtis Fowlkes (trombone), a veteran reed man who co-founded the Jazz Passengers and has played with the Lounge Lizards, the Bill Frisell Quartet, the Kansas City All-Stars, Charlie Haden¹s Liberation Orchestra and the Alumni Ellington Orchestra. German-born Uli G.(akaUli Geissendoerfer — keyboards) lives in New York and his album,“Transformation 9/11,” was a result of having witnessed the attacks on the Twin Towers. Emanuel “Chulo” Gatewood (bass) has appeared with Harry Belafonte, Tony Bird, Morris Goldberg’s Ojoyo and with David Letterman Band drummer Anton Fig. Seattle-born, NYC-based Aaron Heick (alto & tenor saxes) has collaborated with Chaka Khan, Paul Simon, Suzanne Vega, Aretha Franklin, Carly Simon, Frank Sinatra, Cyndi Lauper, Ben E. King, the Manhattan Transfer, Grover Washington Jr. and Ray Baretto. Daniel Moreno (percussion), from Northern California , is a percussionist, composer, producer, and visual artist who has performed with Sally Nyolo, Somi of Uganda, Roy Haynes, Steve Gorn, Josh Roseman, and Les Paul. Danone O’Sow (background vocals, solo voice track ) is from Cote d’Ivoire and was featured on the Parents’ Choice gold-medal-award-winning “African Lullaby”compilation. Harvey Wirth (drums) is a native of Suriname, South America and has played with Maria Schneider, Billy Pierce, Fareed Haque, and many others.