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Letter To The Universe
  • Label: Act
  • UPC: 614427996916
  • Item #: 2566336X
  • Genre: Jazz
  • Release Date: 7/7/2023
  • This product is a special order
List Price: $21.99
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Letter To The Universe on LP

Ghana has an ancient tradition of story-telling, so the continuance of this great heritage can take many forms... and not just ones that involve the voice or words. Peter Somuah spins tales which come from his instrument: as a young trumpet-player, he embarked on a fascinating search for his identity between the Highlife music of his native country, Miles Davis - his idol - and the cosmopolitan musical language of Holland, the country which is now his home. He tells that story in "Letter to the Universe".

With his new album, Peter Somuah has ventured further out into the musical cosmos as a travelling storyteller. His new compositions reflect the stages of his young life: his Ghanaian past, the work of his jazz idols and the lively "Afropean" scene of his new home in the Benelux. In the pulsating and frenzied "Mission On Earth", one can read an unmistakable dedication to Miles Davis's "Bitches Brew" phase, and also an echo of the layered architecture of today's cosmic jazz as played by the likes of Kamasi Washington. That track is also a perfect demonstration of quite how tight and organic the interplay with his band is.

Somuah's work, however, is by no means a male-only affair: right from the prologue, he assigns an important role to slam poet Lisette Ma Neza, who has her roots in Rwanda.

Somuah's music also deals with this Afro-African existence in a way that reaches out for answers. This is trumpet-playing that has nothing to do with showing-off and virtuosity. Rather, he creates a flow in an eloquent narrative, and yet there is also, very clearly, plenty of the joy of playing & danceability here.

There are also colors and hallmarks from Ghanaian music be found on this journey, the fusion of boisterous Fra Fra music from the north of Ghana with jazz, or in Highlife borrowings, notably in the appearance of Ghanaian veteran Gyedu-Bley Ambolley. What Somuah has done is to bring his own new & unheard stories to the cosmopolitan jazz of the 21st century.