Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Album Review: Weedie Braimah - The Hands of Time

Weedie Braimah
The Hands of Time
****and1/2 out of *****

The master of the djembe, Weedie Braimah has released his debut full length album The Hands of Time and it is a overwhelming success mixing all sorts and sounds, styles and vibes throughout it's elongated run time. 

The album has tons of guests, overflowing instrumentation and a coalescing sense of the Pan-African experience. Weedie uses, funk, soul and hip hop, all around the flowing jazz center on percussion with swirling sounds everywhere. The introductory "Full Circle" states the case directly via, digital loops, hand drums, electric guitars, organs and Dunun sets, that music is a universal affair; a theme returned to often throughout the album.  

For years Braimah has supported many artists and those friends return the favor on The Hands of Time as Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah and his stretch music idea is a large part of Weedie's philosophy. The African diaspora "Weediefoli" uses flutes and vocal chants before morphing into hip hop and drum beats with guests Mumu Fresh, Hatouma Sylla, Bassidi Kone, & Petit Adama Diarra delivering a gorgeous journey through different genres and emotions. 

The full album is a synthesizing of styles with songs running long and strong with some delightful extended efforts. "Sackodougou" is a dynamite tune with flamenco guitar and strings providing an eastern vibe leading to a rambling adventure before speeding up halfway as Cory Henry keys pump before Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah's soaring trumpet sparkles; a highlight track all around. Another standout is "Send for Me" which is a we-are-all-one spiritual funky disco dance party with Tarriona Tank Ball acting as a uniting MC while Pedrito Martinez joins Braimah on congas, bata and vocals.

The Weedie lead percussion freak out ends "Back to Forward (An Ode to Bontuku)" which is a slick funky effort featuring Troy 'Trombone Shorty' Andrews while "Rompe El Cuero" brings onboard Osain del Monte & Alain Perez to add some Latin flair to the album. "Ships Come In (A Lullaby) (feat. Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Elena Pinderhughes, & Magatte Sow) showcases the warm gorgeous horns and flute of CSaTA and Pinderhughes respectively, and "Hippos in Space" (feat. Terrace Martin & Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah) are the most full on jazz and while the album is propelled forward by Weedie's percussion and The Hands of Time band's rhythms, CSaTA in particular sounds glorious on these cuts.   

The album contains warm and engaging playing and gets funny with an educational skit reminiscent of De La Soul breaking up the album at the midway point, but it goes on a bit too long like the album as a whole. That is really the only downside to The Hands of Time, there is just too much for most listeners to absorb at almost seventy minutes long. However, outside of the slightly tepid light jazz of "Express Trane to Bamako" there are no down tracks here, with each flowing effort panting a picture with great depth and feeling. 

The record wraps up with "Sworn to the Drum" and for an album that has many guests onboard, Braimah takes center stage. He delivers his pledge to the instrument that has crafted his world and his being while shouting out all of his direct influences on the drums and his spirit. The Hands of Time is am ambitiously successful debut for Braimah and company as the music flows through space and time with creative force and passion.  
Support the artist, buy the album, stream it on bandcamp or below and peep some video:

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