Next up on Africa Seven is the next installment of our series of Manu Dibango CD re-issues. Manu Dibango is probably the most famous musician from Cameroon and quite possibly one of the most internationally well-known African musicians ever. Manu Dibango is a most versatile musician, having played and recorded almost every style of music you care to mention - soul, reggae, jazz, spirituals, blues, African, electro.
Manu Dibango originally trained in classical piano, His musical career began in Brussels and Paris in the 1950. The 1960s finds him in Congo as a member of African Jazz led by Joseph Kabasele (Le Grand Kalle). He formed his own band in Cameroon in 1963, moving to Paris in 1965. His international breakthrough came in 1972 with international hit "Soul Makossa". This went on to be inspire the chant in Michael Jacksons "Wanna Be Startin Something" (and many others).
For the "Afrovision" album we move to 1976, in Paris. Four years after is international breakthrough with Soul Makossa, Manu assembles a supremely talent bunch of musicians who include Vicky Edimo (on bass) and our very own Africa Seven favorite Jo Tongo helping out with Guitar. Claude Vamur (Kassav) on drums, Alex Francfort on Piano and Celluloid / Bill Laswell stalwart Aiyb Diemg on percussion.
The albums six lengthy tracks, span a series of styles from the driving afro jazz of "Big Blow", The soundtrack-laced xylo jazz, smoothness of "Dakar Streets". The afrofunk, groove laden "Akoko Party", the smooth progressive afro jazz of "Bayam Sell'am" and the pensive, sax-driven, reggae slow-groove of "Baobab Sun 7". The album finishes off with the afrobeat grooves, punchy organ and layered guitars of the title track "Afrovision".
Bearing in mind in the same year Manu also recorded the equally masterful "Manu 76" album many argue that the year of 1976 was one the masters finest years..