Alex is totally at ease with his “Afro Saxon” lineage, having been born in Belper, Derbyshire to parents of English and Sierra Leonean ancestry. His musical roots have developed since moving to London in 1993 and his increasing involvement in a variety of “jazz mixes” into which he has fitted with consummate ease.
They say that variety is the spice of life – well there is plenty of variety and spice to savour in this debut album. Check out Alex’s arranging skills throughout (‘Hurtin’ Me,’ ‘Nature Boy’ etc) and his steamingly percussive playing, especially on ‘Aria Baby.’
Highlights are Paul Jayasingha’s hot, flowing flugel on ‘Africa is da Place For Me,’ Bobby Watson’s fearsome solo on ‘Little Suede Shoes’ and lyricism on ‘Sophisticated Lady.’ Ciyo demonstrates on Baracara Island what an underrated artist he is and one can only wonder at the collective rhythmic pulses achieved by David Giovannini, Thomas akura Dyani and the other rhythm players. The two oustandting vocalists on this disc are Gwyn Jay Allen and Lauren Dalrymple