These guys make one work to credit them properly – the names and instruments played are only listed in circular fashion around the printed side of the CD, and the names are almost invisible. Whether the CD # is in fact that or just the date of the recording I can’t say. The band was recorded at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL, but I also don’t know if there’s a connection with the university or not. The musicians are great, and they venture further abroad than some of the steel drum recordings associated strictly with the Caribbean. You know, that must explain the CD’s title…
The African music influence is heard in a couple of the tunes. As the notes explain, in Trinidad there are not only African influences but also East Indian, and the selection Chant finds inspiration from an Indian raga. Brazil is represented by a bossa nova and another original Brazilian tune which translates Happy Footwear. In Nikkara, we run into elements of Indian classical music again, using not only tabla drums but also ancient Turkish drums (which eventually evolved into the timpani of the symphony). Teague’s steel drums sound different from others I’ve heard both live and on recordings, seeming to be higher pitched and at one point I was thinking even electronic. But they’re the real thing, and the mix of other musical cultures than just that of Trinidad and Tobago – plus jazz – adds much interest to this spirited disc.
Tracks: Panoramic, Orlando’s Cha-Cha, Chant, Ivory Coast, 88 Degrees in the Shade, Pearls, Nikkara, Calçados Feliz.
– John Henry