Fela Kuti, Confusion / Gentleman

Jess Harvell

By Jess Harvell

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Confusion / Gentleman

Fela Kuti
Fela gets political and abstracts his grooves.

1973's Gentleman is the first record where Fela's proletariat politics and pan-African/anti-Western rhetoric really shines through. The title cut is an abstract character assassination of a Nigerian who attempts to mimic western dress. But, as Fela avers, "Him go smell like shit," despite his finery. 1975's Confusion, bundled together on this reissue, is Fela at his most musically abstract, a shimmer of an extended intro that slowly gives way to one of Africa 70 drummer Tony Allen's most physical performances, perfectly capturing the simultaneously loose-limbed and stiff-jointed rhythms that all of Fela's music is built on.