Something Else! sneak peek: Sly 5th Ave, “Deme” from Akuma (2014)

Sylvester Uzoma Onyejiaka II is a jazz saxophonist you should get very familiar with, especially once his debut album Akuma hits the streets on February 11. You don’t have to remember that name though, “Sly 5th Ave” will work just fine. A full survey of this astonishing introduction is forthcoming but for now, here’s a taste of Sly’s deft blend of modern, electrified jazz and Nigerian Igbo tribe grooves.

“Deme” (pronounced “day-a may”) features the vocal of Denitia Odigie, simply singing the song’s title along with Sly’s sax and Jay Jenning’s trumpet. Hajime Yoshida’s plush guitar lines grabs most of the attention, and he’s getting great support from a muscular rhythm section of Ross Pederson and Daniel Foose. They suggests rock, but the chorus proposes Sly’s formal American jazz background and a touch of his West African heritage.

Such blends aren’t new in the world of world fusion, but Sly 5th Ave has a way of putting it all together right so that you’re listening to the whole, not the disparate components. That’s part of the charm of “Meme,” a splendid slice of Sly 5th Ave’s fully realized musical vision, yet it only scratches the surface. More on the music of Akuma coming soon.

Visit Sly 5th Ave’s website for additional info.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is a CPA and mid-level data analyst for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.

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