Gentleman (album)

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Gentleman
Studio album by Fela Kuti
Released 1973
Genre Afrobeat
Length 30:52
Label EMI
Producer Fela Ransome-Kuti
Fela Kuti chronology
Afrodisiac
(1973)
Gentleman
(1973)
Confusion
(1975)

Gentleman is a studio album by Nigerian Afrobeat musician Fela Kuti, released in 1973 by EMI.[1] He wrote and produced the album and performed it with his Africa 70 band. The cover artwork's depiction of a monkey's head superimposed on a suited body is a reference to the album's title track, which is Kuti's commentary on the colonial mentality of Africans who adhere to European customs and clothing.

Music and lyrics[edit]

The album's title track is Kuti's commentary on the colonial mentality of Africans who adhere to European customs and clothing, as referenced by the cover artwork's collage of a monkey's head on a suited body.[2] On the song, Kuti ponders why fellow Africans would wear so much clothing in the African heat: "I know what to wear but my friend don't know / I am not a gentleman like that! / I be Africa man original."[3] He solos on his tenor saxophone over most of the song's nine-minute intro and switches to his electric piano during the vocal sections.[4] Kuti had learned how to play after the departure of Igo Chico from his Afrika 70 band in 1973.[2] "Gentleman" is followed by two jazzy instrumentals—"Fefe Naa Efe" and "Igbe".[3]

Critical reception[edit]

In a retrospective review, Allmusic's Sam Samuelson gave Gentleman five stars and called it "both an Africa 70 and Afro-beat masterpiece."[3] In 2000, MCA Records reissued and bundled Gentleman with Kuti's 1975 album Confusion.[3] It was the last installment in a 10-CD, 20-album reissue project for Kuti. Rob Brunner of Entertainment Weekly gave the reissue an "A",[5] while Robert Christgau of The Village Voice gave it an "A–",[6] indicating "the kind of garden-variety good record that is the great luxury of musical micromarketing and overproduction."[7] He said that, while the horn work that introduces the title track "embodies the contradictions of that song's anti-European message", the album is carried "off into the bush" with "two eight-minute Africanisms".[6] Christgau ranked the reissue number 80 in his dean's list for the Pazz & Jop critics' poll in 2000.[8]

In 2010, the album was bundled again with Confusion by Knitting Factory Records as a part their extensive reissue of Kuti's 45-album discography. Paste magazine's Michaelangelo Matos gave it a score of "9.3/10" and cited it as the "essential twofer" in the reissue series.[9] All About Jazz's Chris May said that Gentleman and Confusion were "the first major masterpieces in Kuti's canon."[10]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Fela Ransome-Kuti.

Side one
  1. "Gentleman" – 14:32
Side two
  1. "Fefe Naa Efe" – 8:06
  2. "Igbe" – 8:14

Personnel[edit]

Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes.[11]

  • Africa 70 Organisation – artwork
  • Igo Chico – tenor saxophone (tracks 2, 3)
  • Fela Ransome-Kuti – alto saxophone, arrangements, electric piano, production, tenor saxophone, vocals
  • Peter Obe – photography
  • Emmanuel A. Odenusi – engineering, mixing
  • Tunde Williams – trumpet

References[edit]

  1. ^ Olorunyomi, Sola (2003). Afrobeat!: Fela and the Imagined Continent. Africa World Press. p. 242. ISBN 1592210716. 
  2. ^ a b Gehr, Richard (1 December 2009). "Fela Kuti, Gentleman". eMusic. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d Samuelson, Sam. "Gentleman – Fela Kuti". Allmusic. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  4. ^ Tangari, Joe (8 February 2010). "Africa 100: The Indestructible Beat". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  5. ^ Brunner, Rob (2 June 2000). "Confusion/Gentleman and Stalemate/Fear Not for Man Review". Entertainment Weekly (New York) (543). Archived from the original on 10 February 2013. Retrieved 10 February 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (20 June 2000). "Shuffering and Shmiling". The Village Voice (New York). Archived from the original on 10 February 2013. Retrieved 10 February 2013. 
  7. ^ Christgau, Robert (2000). "Key to Icons". Robert Christgau. Archived from the original on 10 February 2013. Retrieved 10 February 2013. 
  8. ^ Christgau, Robert (February 2001). "Pazz & Jop 2000: Dean's List". The Village Voice (New York). Archived from the original on 10 February 2013. Retrieved 10 February 2013. 
  9. ^ Matos, Michaelangelo (16 February 2010). "Fela Kuti: Knitting Factory Reissues". Paste (Decatur). Archived from the original on 24 February 2013. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  10. ^ May, Chris (11 March 2000). "Part 8 – Knitting Factory rolls out Fela Kuti reissue program (continued)". All About Jazz. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  11. ^ Gentleman (CD liner notes). Fela Kuti. Barclay Records. 1997. 547–023–1. 

External links[edit]