Incredible work by Randy Weston! Uhuru Afrika is one of his most progressive from the early years, and features an extended suite dedicated to African freedom, with occasional lyrics by Langston Hughes, and arrangements by the great Melba Liston. The material's political, radical, and modernist – but it never fails to groove, and uses its politics to achieve an added emotional punch, as in the best work from the same time by Max Roach and Charles Mingus. Players are all totally hip, and include Benny Bailey, Richard Williams, Candido, Olatunji
, Slide Hampton, Freddie Hubbard, and Sahib Shihab. Movements of the suite are entitled "Uhuru, Kwanza", "African Lady", "Bantu", and "Kucheza Blues". Highlife is a fantastic Randy Weston album – as rare as it is groundbreaking, and one that features the original recordings of classics like "Congolese Children", "Blues to Africa", and "Niger Mambo". Melba Liston did the arrangements, and the whole thing cooks hard hard hard – with a mixture of modern jazz and African inspired rhythms that works perfectly. If you've ever heard one of the straighter Randy Weston albums on Prestige and wondered what all the fuss was about, check this one out!
(Out of print.)