Forget what you’re thinking. This isn’t some ancient, oddball Afro-jazz album. Nope. It’s way weirder than that. Despite his self-appointed title, Sudanese jazz king Sharhabil Ahmed actually delivers something that sounds more like a wild ’n’ woolly brand of old-school surf-rock straight from the garage — complete with all the twangy licks, hip-shaking beats and wig-flipping abandon you want, but topped with a honking and squealing snake-charmer horn that intertwines with his flowing and soaring vocalizations. You gotta hear this one. But I warn you: One spin and you’ll be hooked.
THE PRESS RELEASE: “Sudanese jazz hasn’t too much in common with the western idea of jazz. Sharhabil’s sound feels more like a unique combination of surf, rock ’n’ roll, funk, Congolese music and East African harmonies. So it kind of made sense to me, while visiting him in Sudan, to see the records he kept over the years: Two of his own and two by Mulatu Astatke signed to him, further proving the influence of Ethiopian and other neighbouring countries. In fact, Sharhabil was not just one of many Sudanese jazz artists. He is the king of jazz, literally, since in he won a competition over other artists for that title. Despite being in his mid-80s, he’s still very active and mentally sharp with a vivid memory filled with artistic achievement from his musical work to his work as a comic artist, something he his equally known for in Sudan. The following year we featured his song Argos Farfish on our first compilation. And what a song it is! Driven by an an electric guitar, horns and Sharhabil’s energetic yet smooth voice it’s a personal favourite on this release. Why this release is only coming out now? I really can’t tell you! But at least finally here it is. The king of jazz is holding court.”