Last year, in one of my musical exploration tours to New York, I stumbled upon what turned out to be a gem of a CD. Shedly Abraham, one of my favorite drummers, had just released a new CD entitled : New Attitude. And what an attitude indeed! If you were familiar only with Shedly's konpa prowess, you need to quickly re-evaluate the man.
To begin with, Shedly Abraham is not only a drummer, he is a fantastic composer. Of the 14 songs on the CD, he composed twelve of the songs, and that is no small feat!. And moreover, what characterizes him is his versatility, as you will hear. Whether he plays traditional Haitian beat, smooth jazz, funk, Haitian konpa, or Haitian Rara, he is equally at ease. He is also supported by a solid cast of musicians, which explains why the music sounds so smooth, so well put together: Jean Caze on trumpet, Yves Albert Abel on bass, another one of my favorite musicians; Frederic Lasfargeas, Rousseau Telfort , Makarios Cesaire on guitar and so many other wonderful guest artists.
The CD opens with a nice medley of Haitian traditional songs that was beautifully arranged by Shedly Abraham. The transition from one beat to another is superb, including a brief salsa passage which comes a bit as a surprise, to quickly return to a Haitian beat. And this is just a harbinger of the excellent musical pieces on the CD. The title tune, New attitude , showcases the tremendous talent of the drummer. This is quite a funky tune in which Shedly Abraham is having fun. Jean Caze and Jowee Omicil on trumpet and sax, respectively, do an excellent job. The bass player, Tom Kennedy's solo is excellent and he opens the way for Shedly to take over. He does such an excellent solo that you wish he would never stop. Listen to the sensitive arrangement of George Michael's Careless whisper, as Godwin Lewis' soprano sax caresses each note on his instrument. This is music to your ears. Tune No. 7, Por tu amor, is played on a nice salsa beat, further showing how easily Shedly seamlessly transitions from one beat to another. The song is simply well harmonized as every solo fits perfectly. In tunes No. 4, Dance with me, and 9, The sweetest love , played on a nice , soft and harmonious konpa beat, Shedly Abraham shows his romantic side and Caze is superb on the trumpet. You will thoroughly enjoy his sensitive solos. This CD came out after the earthquake and as many other artists have done, one song is dedicated to the victims of the quake. Tune no. 10 is entitled: 12 janvier - the date of the earthquake. Shedly expresses his feelings through his drums, showing his sense of creativity. He does not just play the drums, he sustains a real conversation, recreating the horror of that day. You an almost hear the people in the streets, running left and right in search of shelter, completely disoriented. I cannot really point to a favorite tune on the CD. Each song stands on its own. I thoroughly enjoy each one of them and you will too!
All in all, one of the most salient aspect of the CD is its diversity, as I mentioned earlier. This means you have something new to listen to with every song. It is not often that you meet a Haitian drummer who is so versatile and writes so well. My hat off to Shedly Abraham! I do not think I exaggerate by asserting that this CD is a masterpiece that should be on everyone's shelf. Shedly Abraham has really surpassed himself.
Help stop Haitian CD piracy, this is bad for everyone!
Sispann vann kopi Cd ayisyen yo! Achte orijinal la pito pou nou ka ede mizisyen yo!.
Serge Bellegarde, for Windows on Haiti - October 2011
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