CUBIST: Prominence

By Jerry Leake

Prominence African songs woven into world-rock-fusion designs.

Produced by Jerry Leake
Audio CD (Fall 2013)
Number of Discs 1
© 2013 Jerry Leake & Rhombus Publishing, Boston, MA
Album concept, lyrics, and production by Jerry Leake.
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From the Booklet

A solar "Prominence" is an immense cloud of burning gas and energy extending outward from the Sun's surface; "Fusion" is the atomic reaction process that powers the Sun and stars. "Fusion" also describes a 70s music genre that mixed funk and R&B, electronic effects of rock, and complex time signatures with a jazz approach to lengthy group improvisations. Nowadays many artists tend to avoid the "fusion" label. However, for this project I embraced the term with renewed conviction: world-rock-fusion.

For over 25 years I have been learning and performing traditional African songs of the Ewe people of southern Ghana. Songs from the ancient polyrhythmic dance "Atsiagbekor" convey warrior themes, while those from the social party dance "Gahu" are lighter and funkier. Nowadays the intricate warrior compositions are also performed in social settings, with battle themes taking on more everyday meanings: protect your family, be good to your community, help neighbors in times of need.

One day I ventured outside of the cultural "box" by writing new lyrics to the Ewe songs: to explore the world of singer/songwriter when combining melodic themes, harmonies, and languages within unique contemporary arrangements. "Prominence" is my vision of soundscapes that also retains the underlying message of the traditional lyrics. (Song translations appear in parenthesis.)

The 9 songs on this disc explore ubiquitous themes: the angst and power of love ("My Love" / "Sue"), protest anthems decrying war ("Why?" / "Some Days"), persistent racism and gang violence ("Free Freedom" / "Middle Ground"), celebrations of culture and family ("Prominence" / "Holiday"), and a personal tribute to my hero ("Dear Dad"). Music has the power to shake the world to peace...

Track Listings

1 Prominence (4:04)
Paul Stiller: vocals
Lisa Leake: vocals
Randy Roos: guitars, bass
Jerry Leake: piano, drum set, vocals, percussion, synth pads, atsimevu master drum (stereo duet), gungon, tar, bendir, riq, naqqara, pang, shaker, kagan
2 My Love (4:48)
Stan Strickland: vocals, tenor & soprano sax, flute
Nedelka Prescod: vocals
Lisa Leake: vocals
Rohan Gregory: viola
Randy Roos: baritone guitar (bass)
Jerry Leake: Rhodes, drum set, vocals, shakers, dumbek, percussion
3 Why? (5:10)
Jimmy Alba: vocals
Kadar Prescod-Echols: vocals
Nedelka Prescod: vocals
Randy Roos: guitars, baritone guitar (bass)
Henrique Eisenmann: piano, Rhodes
Rohan Gregory: violin
Jerry Leake: drum set, piano (verses), vocals, gung-gong, sogo, frame drum, ankle bells, karakab, glockenspiel, sabar, gongs, bells, percussion
4 Holiday (4:54)
Stan Strickland: vocals, flute
Lisa Leake: vocals
Randy Roos: baritone guitar (bass)
Jerry Leake: piano, keyboards, drum set, glockenspiel, vocals, agogo, percussion
5 Middle Ground (2:55)
Mister Rourke: turntables, samples
Randy Roos: sub bass
Jerry Leake: tabla, vocals, drum set, congas, udu drum, shakers, Tibetan bells, clave, percussion
6 Some Days (4:50)
Stan Strickland: vocals, tenor & soprano sax
Nedelka Prescod: vocals
Lisa Leake: vocals
Juanito Pascual: flamenco guitar
Rohan Gregory: viola
Randy Roos: bass
Jerry Leake: piano, cajon, vocals, cymblas, palmas, dumbek, triangle, shaker, percussion
7 Free Freedom (4:06)
Nedelka Prescod: vocals
Bob McCarthy: vocals
Henrique Eisenmann: piano, organ
Randy Roos: baritone guitar (bass)
Jerry Leake: djembe, sabar, drum set, gung-gong, frame drum, pang cymbal, vocals, shakers, synth, percussion
8 Sue (3:26)
Stan Strickland: vocals, soprano sax
Henrique Eisenmann: Rhodes
Randy Roos: bass
Jerry Leake: drum set, bass, agogo, pandero, congas, shaker, floor tom, vocals
9 Dear Dad (3:57)
Lisa Leake: vocals
Stan Strickland: soprano sax
Rohan Gregory: violin, viola
Randy Roos: baritone guitar (bass)
Jerry Leake: vocals, piano, drum set, synth pads, percussion