Marius Cultier: The Way It Should Be
From My Way (Magidisco, 1976)
Grupo Los Yoyi: Banana
Paco La Calle
From S/T (Egrem, 1977)
This is easily one of the most extraordinary albums I’ve come across in a long, long time. Cultier represents one of those ultimate examples of transnational musical mastery – a pianist born in Martinique but recorded in both Canada and France and sounds like he’s from everywhere and nowhere at once. Even though My Way is ostensibly a “jazz” album, it switches styles up with remarkable diversity, ranging from the straight balladry of “Nathalie” (sung in FrenchKreyol), to the unmistakably Cuban sabor of “Ochung” (sung in Spanish), to all that crazy ass moog elsewhere on the album, whether you’re talking about the overly seductive, bossa-like smoothness of “The Way It Should Be,” to the frenzied percussive thunder of “Zouk.” Seriously, what is the moog even doing on here? (and I don’t pose that question in any negative way): it’s just completely bonkers.
(I normally wouldn’t share this many songs off a single album but there’s just no way to capture the insane diversity of what Cultier does here with just a couple of examples.)
This album is so weird in fact, it managed to bump off my previously “most weirdly incredible Afro-Caribbean album, the self-titled LP by Cuba’s Grupo Los Yoyi. The latter has the funk tip on lock, especially with a beautifully groovy disco touch. I posted another song off this same LP a few months back but “Banana” and “Paco La Calle” are probably my two favorite cuts off that album (another Latin funk Grail, btw). The Yoyi LP is the better weapon in a dance-off but it’s hard to imagine too many other albums offering a greater set of musical styles than Cultier’s.
(As always, gotta thank Cool Chris. He was the first one to play me the Los Yoyi LP, about four years ago, now that I think about it and I picked up My Way from the Groove Merchant on my recent trip up to the Bay)