|Studio album by Fela Kuti|
|Fela Kuti chronology|
Gentleman is a studio album by Nigerian Afrobeat musician Fela Kuti, released in 1973 by EMI. 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
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. 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." 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. Kuti had learned how to play after the departure of Igo Chico from his Afrika 70 band in 1973. "Gentleman" is followed by two jazzy instrumentals—"Fefe Naa Efe" and "Igbe".
In a retrospective review, Allmusic's Sam Samuelson gave Gentleman five stars and called it "both an Africa 70 and Afro-beat masterpiece." In 2000, MCA Records reissued and bundled Gentleman with Kuti's 1975 album Confusion. 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", while Robert Christgau of The Village Voice gave it an "A–", indicating "the kind of garden-variety good record that is the great luxury of musical micromarketing and overproduction." 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". Christgau ranked the reissue number 80 in his dean's list for the Pazz & Jop critics' poll in 2000.
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. All About Jazz's Chris May said that Gentleman and Confusion were "the first major masterpieces in Kuti's canon."
All songs written by Fela Ransome-Kuti.
- Side one
- "Gentleman" – 14:32
- Side two
- "Fefe Naa Efe" – 8:06
- "Igbe" – 8:14
Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes.
- 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
- Olorunyomi, Sola (2003). Afrobeat!: Fela and the Imagined Continent. Africa World Press. p. 242. ISBN 1592210716.
- Gehr, Richard (1 December 2009). "Fela Kuti, Gentleman". eMusic. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
- Samuelson, Sam. "Gentleman – Fela Kuti". Allmusic. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
- Tangari, Joe (8 February 2010). "Africa 100: The Indestructible Beat". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
- 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.
- 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.
- Christgau, Robert (2000). "Key to Icons". Robert Christgau. Archived from the original on 10 February 2013. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- 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.
- Matos, Michaelangelo (16 February 2010). "Fela Kuti: Knitting Factory Reissues". Paste (Decatur). Archived from the original on 24 February 2013. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
- May, Chris (11 March 2000). "Part 8 – Knitting Factory rolls out Fela Kuti reissue program (continued)". All About Jazz. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
- Gentleman (CD liner notes). Fela Kuti. Barclay Records. 1997. 547–023–1.