barabara sounds sez:
Olu Dara was one of the go-to trumpeters of choice for the free jazz movement; he played with David Murray, Don Pullin and Henry Threadgill. He's even on the recent classic Roy Brooks reissue. Funny thing is, seems like he never really had his heart in the music. Turns out what he really felt was blues, country, folk, roots stuff... Listen to his first album as leader and you can hear it. It's about as far from free jazz as you can get. And it's great — in fact a barabara classic (whatever that might mean).
Factoid: the name Olu Dara is Yoruba for "God is good."
Another thing, he's got a famous son, apparently.
Check out this cool interview in jazz weekly. Then go buy his second album, Neighborhoods — it's every bit as good.
olu dara sez:
Olu Dara is a multi-talented entertainer who has been performing since he was 7 years old. Born in Natchez, MS, he has drawn on his Mississippi roots to create a mix of blues, jazz. gospel, R&B, Caribbean and African rhythms. Olu first landed in New York in 1963 after a stint in the US Navy which took him all over the world. From that time on, Olu has embarked on a career that spans the world of music, dance, and theater. In the 1980s Olu put together 2 ensembles: Okra Orchestra, a 7-plus-member band, and the Natchezsippi Dance Band, a 5-piece unit. Since then this has been Olu's preferred musical environment for creating the roots-based musical style that the audience now hears. His main recordings are "In the World: From Natchez To New York," and "Neighborhoods". A short sample of his numerous awards would include the following: New York Jazz Award for Stylistic Fusion; France's Django d'Or International Trophy in Blues category; three Audelco Awards; a Drama Desk nomination for "I Am a Man" by OyamO; induction into (2003)the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame. In the Dance field, Olu has collaborated with choreographer Diane McIntyre for over 20 years. During his musical performances he plays the trumpet (pocket trumpet), a wooden aboriginal instrument that he picked up on his travels, the guitar, and the harmonica; in addition he always sings, vocalizing his many stories. Think of him as a modern equivalent of the itinerant traveling musician/historian of years past. As he puts it, "I sing about women, food, and life in general".