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Level of Intent
Babatunde Lea
Level of Intent
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (8) - Disc #1

LEVEL OF INTENT marks "the audaciously radical prophecy that Lea's masterpiece, SOUL POOLS (4 stars -Downbeat) has now, oh so brilliantly, fulfilled." -Tom Terrell (Music A classic re-release featuring jazz lege...  more »


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All Artists: Babatunde Lea
Title: Level of Intent
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Motema Music
Release Date: 10/21/2003
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 820320004720


Album Description
LEVEL OF INTENT marks "the audaciously radical prophecy that Lea's masterpiece, SOUL POOLS (4 stars -Downbeat) has now, oh so brilliantly, fulfilled." -Tom Terrell (Music A classic re-release featuring jazz legends: Hilton Ruiz, Kenny Barron, Charnette Moffett, Santi Debriano, Frank Lacy, John Purcell, Jon Faddis, and Frank Colón, LEVEL OF INTENT is the cornerstone in the trilogy that defined Lea's voice and style as a leader and master drummer / percussionist.

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CD Reviews

Spectacular Latin jazz from a monster drummer/percussionist
Jan P. Dennis | Monument, CO USA | 11/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Sometimes I sneak a peak at the instrumentation of a CD if it's listed cut by cut before I listen to it. Not smart. Too much of a temptation to prejudge a performance based on who's playing what. I did that with this CD, and I was prepared for the worst from the get go: a trio version (trumpet, bass, congas) of Charlie Parker's "Billie's Bounce." Imaginings of John Faddis, noted jazz trumpet virtuoso who plays on this cut, screaming away at the top of his instrument's range, sprang into my head. But not to worry. The guys take it at a loping, rollicking gait--not the usually hell-bent pace that typically characterizes contemporary interpretations--bringing out heretofore hidden treasures. Or take their reading of Monk's "Ask Me Now," given a tango-like feel that morphs into late-night blooziness about a third of the way through. One wouldn't have thought such an interpretation would work, but a single listen reveals its complete naturalness, indeed, almost inevitability. John Purcell, a scandalously underrecorded saxophonist of uncommon depth, provides the backbone here with some very satisfying blowing, admirably supported by the blues-drenched piano of Tommy James (a name new to me--nice quote of "Rhapsody in Blue" at the end of his solo) and some soulful bottom courtesy of the great Santi Debriano, one of my very favorite bass players. It's not that this band can't cook; their rendition of the Lea original "Father of Dreams, Daughter of Destiny," a burning Latinate number, swaggers and swashbuckles, driven by the fiery piano of Hilton Ruiz. And "I'm Back," 13-and-a-half minutes of driving rhythms and bubbling percussion penned by the aforementioned Purcell, bursts from the speakers like a runaway semi. Faddis, appropriately, gets to demonstrate his formidable chops, as does Frank Lacy on trombone and Ruiz with more scorching pianisms. The proceedings take a lyrical turn on the gorgeous trio number, "Little Girls," amply demonstrating Babatunde's emotional range, and providing a perfect vehicle for Kenny Barron on piano and Charnett Moffett on bass, surely one of the more nuanced rhythms sections in jazz. The crepuscular feel continues on "Level of Intent," a slow waltz drenched in pathos and once again proving Purcell's sax mastery. Check out, also, Barron's wonderfully evocative and lyrically provocative piano solo, among his finest on disc. Indeed, Lea seems to bring out the very best in his playing partners. These two are separated by "Fools and Babies," another Lea original and probably my favorite on this disc, featuring some startling soloing from Marvin Horn on guitar (another name new to me) and Frank Lacy on 'bone, but it really shines by virtue of its stunning group interaction. Things close out, appropriately, with an older (originally recorded on his brilliant, albeit sadly, out of print disc, Obeh) but nonetheless stunning composition by Santi Debriano, "Offering." Appropriately, because this number so perfectly expresses and sums up the vibe here: state-of-the-art Afro-Latin jazz of the absolute highest order. Tommy James (WHO IS THIS DUDE??) comes through with a dazzling piano solo, all the more striking by virtue of its offhand, even throwaway vibe, and John Purcell, on no less than four (count 'em) woodwinds, simply mesmerizes.I was unaware that this was a reissue from 1995 when I bought it; it doesn't matter: It just makes me all the more anxious to pick up his latest, Soul Pools. Listen. This is the real deal. I approached this disc with high expectations, and they've been completely exceeded by the surpassingly glorious vibe generated by Babatunde Lea and his spectacular bandmates."
His music nourishes the soul......
Sam | Seahurst, Washington | 08/31/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Babatunde plays jazz from the heart with an Afro-Cuban-Carribbean that influences his music but isn't too overwhelming. The CD is light and not overpowering, like a fine wine while Babatunde's drums play a melodic rhythm which sometimes comes across as a lead instrument. Originally released in 1995, this shows Babatunde before his big release of Soul Pools. A raw but more gentle jazz record.

..........Babatunde Lea is a Bay Area percussionist, and an established session musician. He has worked alongside Pharaoh Sanders, Van Morrison, McCoy Tyner, Leon Thomas, Joe Henderson, John Tchicai, and Bobby Hutcherson, before recording an album for Ubiquity Jazz that will remind listeners that he is a skilled band leader, too.

For his debut Ubiquity Jazz album, "March of The Jazz Guerrillas", Babatunde assembled a heavyweight list of guests to make his point. Hilton Ruiz plays piano--Ruiz appeared on Babatunde's 1996 recording, "Level of Intent". Alex Blake is on bass--Babatunde and Blake play together in Pharaoh Sanders' band. Two master percussionists, Bill Summers and Munyungo Jackson, join Babatunde to add rhythmic layers to the mix; and talented West Coast saxophonist and vocalist Richard Howell rounds out the sound.

Babatunde was born in Danville, Virginia. His family moved northward up the Eastern Seaboard when he was only six months old and came to settle in Englewood, New Jersey. It was there that he was first inspired by his aunts and cousins and by stories of his drum playing Aunt Gloria (first woman in Virginia playing drums in a marching band) to begin playing drums himself.

In the sixth grade, Babatunde began drumming with various marching groups. In 1959, at age 11, he attended a concert of African drumming and dance performed by Babatunde Olatunji and his Drums of Passion which left an indelible impression on this young drummer and permanently set his direction in life. In the ninth grade he began playing conga drums and was playing on a professional level by his junior year in high school when, at 16, he played on his first professional recording session for producer Ed Townsend.

In the early 1970s Babatunde hit his stride in New York City performing regularly with such high profile artists as Leon Thomas, Oscar Brown Jr., Lonnie Liston Smith, Kenny Kirkland, John Purcell, Buddy Williams and Eddie "Gua Gua" Rivera. It was in 1977 that Babatunde migrated to the West Coast where he settled in the culturally fertile San Francisco Bay Area. It was not long before Babatunde became a vital figure in the Bay Areas music scene as well, becoming known for his versatility and ability to fit into several music genres. Since then, Babatunde has been the first call drummer for musicians seeking a dynamic and spirited drumming that he brings to the music.