Jamaican record producer Lee "Scratch" Perry is widely celebrated as one of the most important creative figures to emerge in the late-20th century. In "I Am The Upsetter: The Sonic Innovation of Lee 'Scratch' Perry," producer David Katz, who is Perry's authorized biographer, draws on archival interviews to explore his incredible career, which began in the early 1960s and continued until August 2021, only ending when Perry died, aged 85. Perry's Black Ark studio used substandard equipment, but the innovative work he produced there with Max Romeo, Junior Murvin and others inspired a range of artists active in other genres, including Paul McCartney, The Clash and The Beastie Boys, and notably was one of Bob Marley's most important mentors.
From Brazil, Jose Roberto Bertami, the founding keyboard player in the funk-jazz fusion group Azymuth, is getting his very earliest releases reissued on Far Out Recordings. Much like Sun Ra, who was playing hard-bop before he launched into the galaxy's farthest reaches, Bertami's first two releases are straightforward jazz bossa nova, with favorites from Baden Powell and Tom Jobim as well as Bertami's early original work.
A mixture of sacred music and late '80s synthesizers, Gabon's Papé Nzengui is getting the reissue treatment from Awesome Tapes from Africa. There are some very cool sounds on this long-hard-to-find album, available April 8 for the first time on vinyl.
Shows Around New York
Jan. 18-20 globalFest Meets Tiny Desk All three nights, hosted by our friend Angelique Kidjo, are streamable via NPR Music's YouTube page!
Afropop Staff: Sean Barlow, Executive Producer Banning Eyre, Senior Editor Michael Jones, Chief Audio Engineer (jonesaudio.com) Ben Richmond, Director of New Media and Operations CC Smith, Editor at Large