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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Drum Fever - Saka Acquaye

Drum Fever
The High Life Music Of Saka Acquaye And His African Ensemble
Production supervisor – Jac Holzman
Cover Designer – David B. Jones
Cover Photo – George Pickow
Crestview Records CRV-805

This somewhat obscure press is released digitally as "Ghana High-Life" without artist credit so I will not be posting a sample. This press seems to have been released for the first time by Crestview in 1963 (receiving a mention in the May issue of Billboard). There is a 1959 copyright coving the "words and music" printed on the back cover. So, the music seems to have been created during same year that Martin Denny released Hypnotique, Afro-Desia, Exotica Volume III and Quiet Village and perhaps then recorded and or released sometime later (1963?). The sample track above reflects the "exotica" musical trend of the late 50s by the inclusion of "natural" sound effects. The rest of the album is handled more like a "traditional" African folk even thought the set is infused with period mood/jazz flourishes added by instruments, such as the vibes.

The entire set is arranged to keep you engaged by mixing up tempos and approaches to the percussion sound.

From the back cover: Saka Acquaye, first known as a hurdler representing his country in international track meets, later taught school and lead a dance band in his native Ghana. Coming to the United States on a scholarship from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Saka specialized in sculpture and won all the prizes given by the Academy in that field. He organized his African Ensemble in 1954, and since that time, in addition to numerous radio and television performances, the group has played in concert halls and universities throughout the East. His New York appearances include a Town Hall concert and a banquet at the Waldorf-Astoria in honor of Ghana's Prime Minister

Saka Acquaye plays the drums, flute, and tenor saxophone. Other members of the group are Garvine Masseaux, vibes and drums; George Brooks, bass; Edward Cooper, trumpet and mellophone; Wilfred Letman, trumpet' Charles Earland, tenor saxophone; Walter Miller, guitar; and Robert Crowder, Joseph Acquaye, Benny Parkes and Sunny Morgan, drums.

Sugar Soup
Down The Congo
Saturday Night
Drum Festival
Beyond Africa
Congo Beat
Echoes Of The African Forest
Bus Conductor
Kenya Sunset

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