Art Blakey "Comments On Ritual" (1957, Ritual)

"In 1947, after the Eckstine band broke up, we -- took a trip to Africa. I was supposed to stay there three months and I stayed two years because I wanted to live among the people and find out just how they lived and --
about the drums especially. We were in the interior of Nigeria and I met some people called the Ishan people who are very, very interesting people. They live sort of primitive. The drum is the most important instrument there: anything that happens that day that is good, they play about it that night. This particular thing caught my ear of the different rhythms.

The first movement is about a hunter who had went out -- there was three of them. They were after one girl. She was a very pretty girl. They wanted her. And this particular one, he went out -- the guys would tease him a lot because he was the shortest one in the -- tribe. And he went out and he was the best hunter, so he ended up with the girl. And this time they started playing the drums and expressing to her that he had caught the most game and to prepare for the feast that night.

And the second movement is a movement where there's a little girl, she wanted to go out and play, and her mother didn't want her to go out and play and it was an argument going on between the two and so the drummers would play. And the little brother comes up and he persuades the mother to let her go out. So that's a big deed that day for the little boy who persuaded his mother, so they played about it. And the last part of it, I have a little bit of -- American movements in there, the last bit of it is about the first time they had seen an automobile that day. And that's the reason I put in some American movements on the drums. And -- they played about it that day."

Art Blakey

transcription of "Art Blakey's Comments On 'Ritual'" from the 1957 Pacific Jazz album Ritual.

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