In memory of Johnny Peret

In memory of Johnny Peret
In memory of my friend Johnny Peret, vibist, drummer, accordeonist extraordinaire

Friday, December 24, 2010

Afro-Caribbean Jazz in Holland

Fra Fra Big Band – A Tan So (Lucho, 1993)

I found this album with two Fra Fra Sound CD and two Nueva Manteca CD (I'll post them later on) about 15 years ago in a discount bin in my local supermarket.  They were all on the short-lived Lucho label, a small Dutch label that specialised in latino / caribbean music.  I must confess that it was the drawing on the cover, by the Dutch artist Joost Swarte, that first caught my attention. 

Perhaps the only description that comes close to defining the distinctive sound of Fra Fra Big Band is Afro-Caribbean big band-jazz. Fra Fra Big Band draws their influence from the rich musical traditions of various continents, fusing them together to concut a perfectly balanced mixture of styles. Music which swings, evaporates, sparkles and caresses, both on stage as well as on the CD. Fra Fra Big Band perform regularly in the Netherlands and abroad and already has two cds to their name: A Tan So (1993) and Maspoti Makandra (1998). The Big Band actually came into being in 1990, when the original 7 piece jazz ensemble of Fra Fra Sound undertook a short tour to celebrate their ten year anniversary. Joined by a horn section and performing under the name of Fra Fra Big Band the performances were an instant success. Their innovative, passionate, edgy and tight sound proved so inspiring that it called for regular celebrations and Fra Fra Big Band was truly born.

Charles Green
The Surinam expression fra fra means balance. Or even better: a (carefully measured) combination of differing elements. In Fra Fra Big Band these elements come from all over the world. The phenomenon of a big band and the techniques associated with their musical arrangements originate from the traditional swing era of American jazz. The Fra Fra Big Band represent a free yet respectful form of this variance, where smooth and compelling Caribbean, Surinam and African rhythms join in to form the basis of their musical approach. On top of this, the sound of the band is inspired by contemporary forms of improvisations which have their roots in North America, Europe, West- and South Africa. The incorporation of such solos and improvisations in their music lends an energy to the performances and complete their exclusive sound. Each of the stylistic elements which influence the band remains recognizable in the execution of their music. Predominantly, the orchestra plays their own compositions and arrangements, however, some pieces are performed which have been composed and arranged on consignment.

Efraim Trujillo
Fra Fra Big Band consists of eighteen Antillian, Surinamese, Afro-American and Dutch musicians. Well-known soloists are regularly invited from the world music scene as well as the jazz scene. These soloists serve as an important source of inspiration, bringing with them musical elements from different yet related cultures. The orchestra has performed at important festivals such as the North Sea Jazz Festival, the BRT/Middelheim Jazz festival in Antwerp, Murcia International Jazz Festival in Spain and the Arts Alive Festival in Johannesburg, South-Africa. Fra Fra Big Band also plays regularly in jazz clubs, theatres and at multicultural festivals. Their success has meant recognition for their unique and well though-out musical approach, as well as for the inspiring stage presence during performances. The music of Fra Fra Big Band not only inspires the intellect of those that listen, but it also calls out to their hearts, their souls and certainly, their feet to respond.

Fra Fra Big Band – A Tan So (Lucho, 1993
Some good soloists on this one including  Ephraim Trujillo (tenor sax), Steve Williamson (Jazz Warriors), Jim Hartog, Doug Lucas, Charles Green, Patric Sedoc, and probably the best percussion section you could dream of in Europe.

            01. What me worry?
            02. Te jaw fre
            03. Abahilija
            04. In certain seasons
            05. M-zee
            06. Gonza
            07. The sport
            08. One for malinga

Link in comments (256 kbps - Ripped from original CD - currently OOP) 
Leave a comment, it will be much appreciated.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Boogieman, I once had this CD, must have traded it, now's a fine chance to hear it again! thanks.
    peace, E-mile

  3. Hi E-mile, you're welcome. I'll post the second album (Worship mother Earth) shortly.

  4. re-post

  5. A Tan So: