I originally met Seb through my oldest friend Sean Dixon nearly 20 years ago. During my time living in New York I got to see his passionate, love-filled drumming many times, including at my wedding, which took place in his backyard in New Jersey. To this day I still think of him as "Old Stiff-Leg," a nickname he earned through his funny, crooked way of dancing during a taping of "party sounds" for a CD by Sean's old band The Chesterfields. His website elucidates his extensive international study of percussion and Afro-Latin tradition, but I can tell you from experience that he draws from a deep, deep well. A small cannonball of a man with a quick laugh, he lives in New York City with his wife and son.
This mix is titled Vibration Society. Back in the day I used to make mix tapes with my buddy George (those days we called him Georday). Most of the time, the mixes were for women that were interested in (I know - we all did it). We would spend hours working out our song orders complete with hidden tracks and label art. We called ourselves the Vibration Society, which we got from the band that played with Rahssan Roland Kirk. It wasn't until I sat down to work out this mix that I realized how much I miss sitting with a stack of vinyl, CDs, and cassettes trying to get the perfect mix tape down. This mix is playlist of songs that I just keep revisiting and most are part of my musical foundation. As a percussionist, I've spent a lot of inspiring moments with the music of Brazil, Peru, Cuba, and New Orleans so I focused this mix on that base. There is some Reggae and R&B in there, just 'cus it makes me feel good. I hope you do too.
Celia Cruz – Elegua Quiere Tambo - Sets the tone for the predominant theme here - African-based drumming and its influence in the Americas. I love this little record that Celia Cruz did in honor of the Yoruba deities. She's saying that the deity Elegua wants a drumming. Elegua is the archetypal keeper of the crossroads (sound familiar Robert Johnson fans?) and trickster. As a result, he is always honored first to allow for open roads.
Rebirth Brass Band – (I Feel Like) Busting Loose - For me, New Orleans is a drummer's town! I love Rebirth Brass Band. They throw down hard!
Pedro Luis Ferrer – Fundamento - This son is swinging and Ferrer is a deep cat. The music is simple, but we should all be happy to groove like that!
Pepe Vásquez – No valentin - One of my favorite versions of the popular Afro-Peruvian classic. I love the opening percussion cut!!! RIP Pepe Vasquez, he sang with so much juice!
Maraca – Yo Bailo De Todo - This is just one of those dance tunes that I tend to revisit. Maraca's horn arrangements are tasty. Plus great message here people - play music, I dance to it all!
Yoruba Andabo – El Callejon de los Rumberos - Elegant rumba from the great Yoruba Andabo from Havana Cuba.
Ray Barretto – El Hijo De Obatala - A Classic.
Los Van Van – Esto Te Pone La Cabeza Mala - Funky one from one of the great Cuban dance bands for decades. I'll never forget hearing the bass drum parts being played by my Cuban friend on the roof of an old Russian station wagon as we rolled in Havana.
Grupo Clave y Guaguancó – Maileo - Grupo Clave y Guaguanco kills it!
Eva Ayllón – Ruperta - The version that I wanted wasn't on Spotify but this one is great too! Eva Ayllón is backed up by the masters on this track! The great Caitro Soto calls out his trademark "Toma Toma!"
Rahsaan Roland Kirk – Talk (Bright Moments) - The father of the Vibration Society blesses us with some of his philosophy.
The Royals – Make Believe (Version Two) - The Royals hit us hard with groove and message.
Caetano Veloso – Os Passistas - Caetano Veloso always brings a grace to his music like no other. They did an amazing job arranging loads of drums with a great orchestration work around it.
Pupy y Los Que Son Son – La borrachera - Pupy is the man!!
Roberto Roena – Tu Loco Loco Y Yo Tranquilo - This has been my mantra lately when the world gets crazy. I love this bongo playing.
Tyrone Davis – Can I Change My Mind - Tyrone has been singing this to me since 1993 and way longer for a lot of other folks.
Meshell Ndegeocello – Love Song #1 - Meshell just closes things off right with a mellow tone and a lot of love...Bright Moments.