Released as a double LP on Chisa/Blue Thumb in 1972, Hugh Masekela's Home Is Where the Music Is marked an accessible but sharp detour from his more pop-oriented jazz records of the '60s. Masekela was chasing a different groove altogether. He was looking to create a very different kind of fusion, one that involved the rhythms and melodies of his native South Africa, and included the more spiritual, soul-driven explorations occurring in American music at the time on labels like Strata East, Tribe, and Black Jazz as well as those laid down by Gato Barbieri on Bob Thiele's Flying Dutchman imprint. The South African and American quintet he assembled for the date is smoking. It includes the mighty saxophonist Dudu Pakwana and drummer Makaya Ntshoko, both South African exiles; they were paired with American pianist Larry Willis and bassist Eddie Gomez, creating a wonderfully balanced, groove-oriented ensemble.
From The Vile Catacombs isn’t just the coolest album name this side of Iced Earth’s Plagues Of Babylon (2014), it’s also Ra’s Dawn return, of sorts. Notwithstanding rather feeble debut Scales Of Judgement (2006) and admittedly far more stable sophomore effort At The Gates Of Dawn (2009), the German prog metallers, ever with a penchant for the lore of the ancient Egyptians, have taken their sweet time in creating album number three, and done so with nary a fuck to give as to what the critics may think. The album proves to an enjoyable listen as at eight tracks and just under 50 minutes it manages to fly by rather swiftly, an attest to its better qualities as I find myself wanting more.