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Baker's Dozen

Serious Vibe: Dave Okumu Of The Invisible's Favourite Albums
Danny Riley , March 10th, 2016 10:59

Before he plays Convergence festival, the prolific singer and guitarist speaks to Danny Riley about the albums that have shaped his musical life, including D'Angelo, Aphex Twin and "diminutive funk goblin" Prince


John Taylor, Norma Winstone, Kenny Wheeler: Azimuth – Azimuth
I've got a connection to that record in a few different ways. It goes back to my early teens, when I discovered that record. It has a spiritual feeling for me, I'm always looking for music that transports me, all of these records do that in different ways. But this record just had that otherworldly, textural feel to it. That band is an unusual line-up: John Taylor is on piano and synthesisers and Kenny Wheeler's on trumpet and flugelhorn and Norman Winstone's singing, but they are making this sound that's very very unified and beautiful. I was just enthralled with it. And then I became friends with Leo Taylor [Invisible drummer] when I was about 18, and we've been playing together ever since. He's one of my favourite musicians of all time actually. Leo is the son of John and Norma. I was a massive fan of his parents, they're jazz royalty basically. John Taylor is one of the most incredible pianists. I've played with a lot of musicians over the years and really been amazed by them, but I've always been able to understand what they're doing, because of my musical education. But I was lucky enough to play with John Taylor a couple of times before he died, and he's one of the only musicians where I've had no idea what he was doing. It was just rhythmically and harmonically so involved in such a beautiful and unique way. For me he's up there with all the greats; he's up there with Herbie Hancock and Bill Evans, he's just a really unique voice.

Really sadly he passed away last year. That record has a really special place in my heart, and part of the reason that I put it on the list is that I was at his funeral last year and they played a lot of his music, and they played one of the recordings from that album, 'Sirens' Song'. You know when you've not heard a piece of music for 12 years or something, and everything just comes flooding back? It's harmonically just such a beautiful piece of music. I put that album on the list in his memory, and I'm so grateful to him because he's been a real sort of inspiration and he's birthed one of this country's greatest drummers.

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