Bringing The World Home To You

© 2021 WUNC North Carolina Public Radio
120 Friday Center Dr
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
919.445.9150 | 800.962.9862
91.5 Chapel Hill 88.9 Manteo 90.9 Rocky Mount 91.1 Welcome 91.9 Fayetteville 90.5 Buxton
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Guitar Phenom's New Album Pays Tribute To Jimi Hendrix

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

We're listening to Solorazaf, a guitar phenomenon. He's been a side man for artists including Dizzy Gillespie and Nina Simone. All by himself, he's a one-man band. His new album, "Solodeguitar," features a range of arrangements of familiar songs including several by his idol, Jimi Hendrix. Banning Eyre has our review.

(SOUNDBITE OF SOLORAZAF SONG, "CROSSTOWN TRAFFIC")

BANNING EYRE, BYLINE: Solorazaf came of age in Afro Paris, the rich milieu of African artists who for decades have made the French capital their home. Worlds of culture collide there, so it's no surprise that this precocious African guitarist developed a fascination with Jimi Hendrix. Six of the 15 tracks on this album are Hendrix covers.

(SOUNDBITE OF SOLORAZAF SONG, "CROSSTOWN TRAFFIC")

EYRE: Solorazaf was actually born in France, but to parents from Madagascar. The percussive flavor and distinctive rhythms of music from his ancestral homeland is a persistent undercurrent in his playing.

(SOUNDBITE OF SOLORAZAF SONG, "YESTERDAY")

EYRE: Listen to the way he infuses an ambling folk rhythm into this familiar Beatles song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SOLORAZAF SONG, "YESTERDAY")

EYRE: Over the years, this in-demand side man has recorded a number of solo albums mostly of his own diverse compositions. But on this CD, Solorazaf taps an eclectic set of musical heroes as in the sultry read of Marvin Gaye's, "What's Going On?"

(SOUNDBITE OF SOLORAZAF SONG, "WHAT'S GOING ON?")

EYRE: And of course, he nods to the great Mariam Makeba, with whom he spent years on the road.

(SOUNDBITE OF SOLORAZAF SONG, "PATA PATA")

EYRE: There are so many different ways to play guitar - one reason that solo guitarists are constantly breaking new ground. Solorazaf may never be a household name, but his blend of African technique, jazz knowledge and personal obsession with global pop music has earned him a unique place in the pantheon of guitar wizards. No overdubs here, just passionate picking.

(SOUNDBITE OF SOLORAZAF SONG, "THE WIND CRIES MARY")

BLOCK: Banning Eyre is a senior producer for Afropop Worldwide. He reviewed "Solodeguitar," covered with love by Solorazaf. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

More Stories