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Gyedu​-​Blay Ambolley and Hi​-​Life Jazz

by Gyedu-Blay Ambolley

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    A1. Sankumagye-Love life
    A2. Yekor ye a yeaba

    B1. Enyidado
    B2. Love Supreme

    C1. Footprints
    C2. Round Midnite

    D1. Asamansudo Groove
    D2. All Blues

    Includes unlimited streaming of Gyedu-Blay Ambolley and Hi-Life Jazz via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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Enyidado 05:12
Footprints 05:33
All Blues 06:28


“Hi-Life Jazz is a super cool and joyously good natured new release from the Ghanian veteran.”
Songlines ★★★★ (UK)

“Afro-American jazz, soul and funk with Ghanaian highlife, enhanced by his signature Simigwa style and powered by polyrhythms.”
Pan African Music

“Gyedu-Blay Ambolley continues to explore the infinite possibilities of his afro-groove cocktail as militant as it is danceable.”

Debbie Golt

Gyedu-Blay Ambolley and Hi-Life Jazz is the new album from revered Ghanaian highlife and Simigwa Do exponent Gyedu-Blay Ambolley, known for his deep, soulful, and funky highlife sound and sometimes referred to as the “James Brown of Ghana.”

A 360-degree musical tour de force as evidenced by his impressive and eclectic back catalogue, Gyedu-Blay Ambolley and Hi-Life Jazz makes his 35th album release to date. His third release on the German Agogo label, the release sees him breathing new life into some jazz classics, revisiting works by John Coltrane (Love Supreme), Thelonius Monk (Round Midnite), Wayne Shorter (Footprints) and Miles Davis (All Blues) alongside some brand new compositions, powered by polyrhythms and his signature highlife style. The record coincides with multiple live dates through October visiting Paris, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Lisbon, Copenhagen, Brussels, Gothenburg, Malmo, Saubriges & Mugron.

Since his breakthrough in the early 1970s with his own Simigwa style he has shared stages and studios with some of Ghana's greats like Ebo Taylor and Sammy Larteh with whom he played In the Uhuru
Dance Band. Together they founded the Apagya Show Band in 1974. He has since continued to push back boundaries, embrace, explore, create and cultivate an impressive catalogue of work. In recent times, he has become a go-to example of Ghana's rich traditional music form, so much so that he has performed tirelessly through Europe and US and most notably at Utrecht's Le Guess Who Festival and the Montreux Jazz Festival.

Gyedu-Blay Ambolley and Hi-Life Jazz jumps right out of the blocks with 3 straight-up, groove-laden highlife numbers in Sankumagye, Yekor Ye A Yea and Enyidado, a spontaneous mix of Afro-soul and groove with Ambolley's deep tonal and vocal interventions giving a sense that the influence of Afro-American soul music is never far away. Things continue to heat up as the maestro and bandleader approaches various songs from the songbook of classic modern jazz. The rhythmic pulse within each standard is pushed and pulled, ensuring the original is recognisable yet rooted in Ambolley's ancestral home.
In John Coltrane’s Love Supreme he proclaims “John Coltrane said love is supreme & we heard him in Africa very loud and clear.” Taking a very different but direct approach filled with Ghanaian swing Ambolley matches the colours and energy with a rhythmic dexterity and an African spiritual sensitivity that immediately draws you in, allowing a space for the spiritual to rise.
The Wayne Shorter classic Footprints receives a similar treatment - it's a toe-tapping workout that leaves you wanting more. Round Midnite, a Thelonious Monk staple, has been covered so many times as a ballad yet here Ambolley gives things an uptempo re-work, a wholly unique inception that makes total sense when you hear it. All Blues by Miles Davis is a well-loved staple of jazz players the world over and is known as a vehicle for endless improvisations and here, in the hands of this master craftsman, is a mesmerising and unapologetic dance floor journey.

Polish, panache, melodic and harmonic invention run riot throughout Gyedu-Blay Ambolley and Hi-Life Jazz. It's so much more than an experiment in bringing a Ghanaian pen to jazz standards rather a wonderful collision of Ghanaian roots, highlife and Ambolley's Simigwa stylings with Afro-American jazz, soul and funk.


released October 7, 2022

Composers and arrangers:

(1) Sankumagye-Love Life
Composed,arranged and lyrics by Gyedu-Blay Ambolley
(2) Yekor yea yeaba
Composed,arranged and lyrics by Gyedu-Blay Ambolley
(3) Enyidado
Composed and arranged by Charles Oduro Donkor
(4) Love Supreme
Composed and arranged by John Coltrane
(5) Footprints
Composed and arranged by Wayne Shorter
(6) Round Midnite
Composed and arranged by Thelonious Monk
(7) Asamansudo Groove
Composed, arranged and lyrics by Gyedu-Blay Ambolley
(8) All Blues
Composed and arranged by Miles Davies
(9) Ambolley Special
Composed, arranged and lyrics by Gyedu-Blay Ambolley

the musicians on Footprints and All Blues and they tracks 5 and 8.

Gyedu-Blay Ambolley - L.Vocals,Sax and percussion
Steven Smith - Flugal Horn and solos
Michael Session - Alto Sax and solos
John Rangel - Piano
Josman Mbela - Drums
Al Threats - Bass
Marcel Adjibi - Congas

Songs 1,2,3,4,6 and 7 were produced by Gyedu-Blay Ambolley and recorded at Sekondi Studio in Ghana, West Afrika. Studio engineers: Gyedu-Blay Ambolley and Faat ( ). Songs 1,2,3,4,6,and 7 were mixed by Rob Berings and Gyedu-Blay Ambolley at the Hippo Studio in Holland. Songs 5 and 8 were produced by Gyedu-Blay Ambolley and recorded and mixed at New Zone Studio by Wayne Peet in Los Angeles. Song 9 was produced by Gyedu-Blay Ambolley and recorded and mixed at Rhythm Africa Studio by Francis Kwakye and assisted by Owureku and Gyedu-Blay Ambolley in Ghana.

Musicians on Songs 1,2,3,4,6,7 and 9:

Gyedu-Blay Ambolley - L.Vocals, T.Sax and solos and Percussion
Isaacs Karikari - (Young Anim) - All Keys and solos
Peter Mensah Kadesh - Drums, Percussion and backup vocals
Charles O.Donkor (Kwesi Arko) - Bass Guitar,guitar on song 3 and backup vocals George Abban - Guitar
Owura Kay - Guitar solo on song 4
Dominic Quachie - Guitar on song 9
Kuuku Antonio - Trumpet,Flugal,solos and backup vocals Colonel Faat - T.Sax,backup vocals and solos
Shikome (William Adjiri) - Congas,backup vocals and Percussion
Additional Farfisa,Baritone and percussion by Rob Berings and Wah wah guitar by Rob de Lange

Contact in Ghana, West Afrika
Gyedu-Blay Ambolley
P.O.Box AT 2501,Achimota,Accra, Ghana, West Afrika

Love Supreme:
Baritone saxophone, hand percussion and Farfisa: Rob Berends

Baritone Saxophone and Farfisa: Rob Berends
Wah wah guitar: Rob de Lange

Flute and hand percussion: Rob Berends

Round midnight (nothing)

Farfisa: Rob Berends
Wah wah guitar: Rob de Lange

Farfisa and hand percussion: Rob Berends

Mixing in cooperation with Blay by: Rob Berends


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Gyedu-Blay Ambolley Ghana

The Legendary Gyedu Blay Ambolley from Ghana, West Africa and his Sekondi Band has 29 music albums to his credit. He was born in the city of Sekondi-Takoradi, in the Western Region of Ghana, in West Africa. This versatile, irrepressible singer, songwriter, producer and "musical-life-force" exploded on the music scene in 1973 with a jazzy highlife sound called 'SIMIGWA-DO'. ... more

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