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Jazz Pianist Marc Cary Premieres 'Rhodes Ahead Vol. 2 Remixes' EP

Modern jazz pianist Marc Cary premieres a four-track remix EP from his North African-influenced 'Rhodes Ahead Vol. 2' album.


Modern jazz pianist Marc Cary first released Rhodes Ahead Vol. 1 in 2000, a collection that pulled away from the restraints of what critics and audiences thought the 'jazz genre' should sound like by adding in Cary's influences from hip-hop and the Washington, D.C. go-go scene. The release ended up earning him that year's award for Billboard/BET Best New Jazz Artist. Earlier this year Cary revisited that underground classic in Rhodes Ahead Vol. 2, a 12-track album that features several homages to Northern Africa through the Fender Rhodes piano. Stream our premiere of four electronic reworkings from that new LP in the Rhodes Ahead Vol. 2 Remixes EP, plus read Cary's explanations of the songs' African backgrounds below.

"'Essaouira Walks' comes directly from Morocco and Gnawa music," Cary explains in an e-mail to Okayafrica. "After spending an extended time studying with Mustapha Bakbou in preparation for the closing ceremony of the Gnawa music festival and experiencing 30,000 people singing and dancing to this song. This festival compelled me to write this and 'African Market.' Traditionally you wouldn’t hear the fender Rhodes on this music. My experienced showed me that it works and can add a texture that was not present before. I experienced the spirits of the many African slaves that left that incredibly powerful coast in route to what is now known as America. I believe these songs are a sonic representation of how I felt listening to the powerful waves and wind whipping the salted water into a sudsy lather which blew everywhere and covered the rocky shore line. These songs are my prayer for the sleepers and creators of the music referred to as Gnawa music."

"'Water Spirits' is a song dedicated to the Africans who didn’t make the middle passage, the ones who got thrown or jumped into the water," Cary adds. "It's about the underwater spirits who came and saved them and brought them to safety. I played all the parts on this track using the technology you frequently see me using on stage, in this instance The Moog and The Access Voyager."

"'Procession' is about the procession of kindred spirits ascending into the heavens. I produced the song solo, but I dug into older sessions with Terreon Gully to create the drum parts. This was taken from one of his drum solos. I used the Electron Octo-track sampler, as I would in my live set. My purpose for using this was to get out of computer production mode going back to the old school sampling and hardware mode of production."

Stream Marc Cary's 'Rhodes Ahead Vol. 2 Remixes' EP above and catch him live at his upcoming NYC dates listed below.

Marc Cary Live Dates

June 25 Marc Cary residency - The Harlem Sessions @ Gin Fizz, 308 Malcolm X Blvd

June 26-27 Marc Cary Focus Trio @ Minton's, 206 W 118th St

June 28 Marc Cary Focus Trio @ Harlem Arts Festival

News Brief
Photo by Ian Dickson/Redferns (via Getty Images)

New Fela Kuti Reissues & Box Set Are Coming This Year

Partisan Records has shared initial news of upcoming Fela 50th anniversary reissues and a new box set on the way.

Fela Kuti fans have a lot to look forward to this year as Partisan Records (home to Fela's catalog) has announced plans to release special reissues of two 1971 albums: London Scene and Live! With Ginger Baker, the classic album in which Fela and his band Africa '70 where joined by the Cream drummer.

The label has also said they plan to release the fifth installment in their ongoing Fela vinyl reissue box set series, which are handpicked by notable names in the music world. Previous volumes have been curated by Erykah Badu, Questlove, and Brian Eno.

Partisan has also shared that they will also be launching a scholarship program at Fela's alma mater, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, in London this year. The label will be sharing more information on all of that exciting Fela Kuti 2021 news soon, so keep and eye out.

In the meantime, Fela Kuti is currently leading the fan vote for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. You can head here to cast a daily ballot for the afrobeat legend. Voting is capped at one ballot per day.

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