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whatmusic.com presents ‘Semuta’ by Semuta, first released on Lee Lambert records. Samba/fusion-influenced jazz from a british quintet led by vibist Ian Ballantine plus guest percussionist Sergio Castillo.
  • First ever worldwide release!
  • Digitally remastered from the original tapes
  • Tracks include killer jazz dancer ‘La Fayette’ & ‘Bopso’
  • Exclusive new liner notes

Check the 30 second clips from the album...

The whatmusic.com interview...

semutant jazz!

In the 1970s Howard Lambert spent a lot of time in jazz clubs in England, enjoying great nights of jazz. However, it concerned him that none of this music was being recorded, as record companies were exclusively recording pop music.

So Howard decided that he would form an independent jazz label to capture, for posterity, some of the excellent british artists’ offerings. To his amazement, he discovered that there were, in the commercial record business, several serious jazz aficionados who were willing to give time and effort to assisting this cause. Initially, Howard recorded a series entitled ‘British Jazz Artists – Vol…’, and featured artists such as Terry Smith, Tony Lee, Martin Drew, Bill Le Sage and John Taylor.


In 1978 Lambert saw the band Semuta, which was mainly formed by graduates of the Leeds College of Music. They were a sensation on the London jazz scene with their brand of music, all of it composed by pianist Alan Cook. So Howard seized the opportunity in October 1978 to record them at the BBC Studios in Kensington House, London.

The band featured the mercurial vibesman Ian Ballantine, Alan Cook (piano/electric piano), Dave Tyas (drums), Frank Dawkins (electric bass) and Dave Bartle (tenor saxophone). Sergio Castillo on percussion was featured on several tracks.

Howard considered that the category of their music was ‘good’ and held no barriers, although their origins were deeply rooted in jazz. ‘Semuta’ covers a wide range of music ranging from the latin-influenced ‘No Face No Name’ and ‘La Fayette’, a pirate radio staple back in the day, through the soothing ballads ‘Danielle’ (a guitar/vibes duet) and ‘By No Means Beautiful’ to the sterling straight-ahead playing of ‘Little Angels’ and ‘Bopso’.

Yet more musical dimensions are added by the tracks ‘Blue Pearl’ and ‘Losers’. So much so that Crescendo International magazine concluded that ‘we defy anyone to find a more exciting band in the country’.

Thanks to Howard Lambert for liner notes and to Bill Woods for tape transfer.

© 2002 whatmusic.com
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