UPR!SE is a blog dedicated to The Shrine's Patron Saint and inspiration, Fela Anikulpo Kuti.

The blog focuses on music, fashion, art, design, politics and culture. It is a celebration of trailblazing souls who rise up without compromise.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Tough Jazz One! DJ 'Cosmic' Clark Quente

Tough Jazz One - Sound Tracks Real & Imagined (A Mix by 'Cosmic' Clark)

I was thinkin' about jazz and the movies (And a mix made a while back) and most of my favorite films have killer sound tracks. A great sound track can lift a seemingly banal scene or film into the stratosphere and inject it with emotion, context and meaning. Jazz, at it's best (or uh, cosmic), can create films inside your imagination, literally 'taking you on a trip'. Sometimes you gotta' go deep...

Buddy Collette opens with 'My Funny Valentine', from a rare LP recorded in Italy with the Basso/Valdambrini Quintet. (Sublime flute work by Collette.) Next up is the Clarke-Bolland Big Band with 'Un Graso de Areia', featuring Sahib Shihab. (What's the latin phrase for "chase scene"?) Remo Usai follows with 'Tema de Boca de Ouro', the theme to the classic Brazilian fillm BOCA DE OURO by Nelson Rodrigues. Sinister and dark to match the film. Mario Schiano takes us back to Italy and the vanguard for 'Supra Monte'. More Brazilian obscurities follow, one via Nigeria. Afrocult's 'Tema de Deusa Negra' is the title track to the the film DEUSA NEGRA. The film featured an all Brazilian cast, but was directed by Nigerian director, Ola Balogun. Afrocult is made up of members of Fela Kuti's band and Monomono! Deep, spirtitual Afro jazz. Next is Tribo Masahi's 'Walk By Jungle' Trippy. Beatnicks in Rio de Janeiro?! The mix closes with some funky fusion from Argentina (Chivo Barraro's 'Mi Amigo Tarzan') and brings it back home to Chicago with The Awakening's 'Kera's Dance'. ENJOY.

Tough Jazz One - 'Cosmic' Clark

Friday, March 12, 2010


You can't talk about Fela or The Shrine without talking about Fela's original drummer and band leader Tony Allen! Of course we have to go back to the crates and pull out the records... Besides crucial recordings with Fela, Allen has released a grip of his own records dating from the mid-70s to two brand new albums dropping this past year. His beats have been continuously sending ripples through the music world for forty years. Masters of Work, Bobbito, Spinna & Ron Trent are just a few who have offered up re-mixes or edits of Fela/Tony Allen material from the 70s. J Dilla only went back a year when he sampled Allen's 'Asiko' (1999) for Common on the cut 'Heat' on his 2000 album LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE.

His first four records (1975-79) are available as a double CD entitled AFRO DISCO BEAT from Spain's Vampi Soul label. As powerful as any of the Fela records, this is Afro Beat straight, no chaser. Long jams with low end rumble, blazing horns and funky keys all riding atop Tony snaking drums. In the 80s he continued playing and touring and appearing sporadically on albums by various artists from Randy Weston to Grace Jones.

In 1999 Allen re-emerged with the BLACK VOICES album. Produced in Paris, where he now lives, the album saw Allen branching out and embracing new styles, most notably Electronica and Dub. (Well not all new, he'd already recorded with Jamaican saxophone giant Cedric 'IM' Brooks) The album brought him a new generation of listeners, who may have been unaware of his roots with Fela. Re-mixes followed as well as the Allenko Brotherhood Ensemble - a series of a 12" singles based on Allen's drum patterns produced by a host of young beat makers and producers.

He seems to be making up for lost time, releasing a handful of records of his own and appearing on countless records by other artists. After mixing funk & hip hop on 2002's HOME COOKING he has gone back to playing more traditional Afro Beat but continues to push the boundaries collaborating with and recording with divergent groups like Awa Band, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (represent Chicago!), The Good The Bad & The Queen & Charlotte Gainsbourg to name a few.

Tony is bringing more heat this year with his own 'Secret Agent Man' album as well as 'Inspiration Information Vol. 4' with Jimi Tenor. If you have not seen the man play live, check the promo film for his newest album below...