Kiki Gyan (1977) Afro Reggae (LP) P.V.P. 7777

Kiki Gyan
Afro Reggae
P.V.P. 7777 (Holland pressing) 
1977
rating: *** (noteworthy)

African keyboardist Gyan joined Osibisa as a teenager, released this rare solo debut a few years later.  (Apparently, he’d never kick the drug addiction that started here.  It would end up killing him.)  This is African DISCO with some reggae and funk elements but fans of funk or reggae might be disappointed.  He offers some variety and some of the cuts are quite unique, but contrary to some sellers’ brags, this is not really funk but rather a disco-funk sound.  He creates a groove on some of the cuts but often loses the groove or floats over the groove in signature disco style.  He has one horn (soprano sax) and cool African percussion on some cuts, and his synthesizer often sounds very dated—which some listeners might find charming.  

The set is somewhat typical of bands led by keyboardists—typically not a good sign— but he keeps it playful and doesn’t waste much time showing off his chops.  The best cut is “Doing My Thing,” but other selections have some charm as well.  For fans of rare disco or African 70s music, this is a worthwhile listen.

Kiki Gyan (fender rhodes, piano, synthesizer, organ, bass, lead vocals, production), Jake Sollo(guitars), Richard Bailey (drums), Ray Allen (sax), Kofi Ayivor (percussion), Liza Strike, Helen Chappelle & Joan Stone (backing vocals).  Recorded in London.

— winch

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