Ola Onabulé – Point Less – Rugged Ram Records

by | Oct 3, 2019 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Ola Onabulé – Point Less – Rugged Ram Records 77:41****

(Ola Onabulé – vocals; guitar – John Parricelli, Guillermo Hill, Al Cherry, Femi Temowo; piano –  John Crawford, Ross Stanley, Pete Adams; drums – Jack Pollitt, Chris Nickolls; bass – Phil Mulford; percussion – Will Fry; saxophone – Duncan Eagles; harmonica – Berthold Matschat; Hammond B-3 organ – George Hazelrigg)

British born, but raised in Nigeria, singer/songwriter Ola Onabulé has released a new album entitled Point Less, which could be described as a mash up of styles, rhythms, cultures, and themes. Backed by a tight band of cracker jack musicians, Onabulé delivers a musical tour de force that explores this narrative in a persuasive fashion.

As is generally the case with albums of this style, most songs do not fit the standard rhyming pattern of popular/jazz tunes, but are more likely to be songs based on stories with a more open portrayal. Such is the case as evidenced by the opening track “Throwaway Notion”. Supported by a snappy rhythmic beat, Onabulé tells a tale of the degradation of the political climate in a world context.

The title track “Point Less” is a bitter exposition of shattered dreams caused by violence that provides no redemption.  “Exit Wound” offers a repeating samba rhythm over which the story of tragic loss unfolds to expressive effect. Guitarist Guillermo Hill is particularly note-worthy on this track.

Ola Onabulé has a wonderfully rich baritone voice with an impressive vocal range that adds depth and colour to his interpretations. He has a stellar reputation in the UK and Europe and has recently begun to tour in the United States. He is a social activist and his writing reflect his interests and commitments.

So whether Onabulé tells stories about untrammelled ambition in “What The Heck”, tragic love in “Ballad Of The Star Crossed” or choosing life without violence in “Dignity”, the listener knows they are on an emotional musical journey told in an uncompromising and powerful way.

TrackList: Throwaway Notion; The Old Story; Point Less; And Yet; Exit Wound; What The Heck; Ballad For The Star Crossed; I Knew Your Father; Suru Lere; Tender Heart; Conceive It; So They Say; Pas Famille; You Can’t Depend On Love

—Pierre Giroux

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