Roots: The Saga Of An American Family



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    Roots: The Saga Of An American Family Varèse Sarabande

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Review Text Quincy Jones has been threatening to write a long tone poem sketching the history of black music for decades now, and he has yet to do it. This project, rushed out in the wake of the 1977 TV mini-series Roots, is about as close as he has come. A brief (28 minutes) immaculately-produced and segued suite, Roots quickly traces a timeline from Africa to the Civil War, incorporating ancient and modern African influences (with Letta Mbulu as the featured vocalist), a sea shanty, field hollers, and fiddle tunes, snippets of dialogue from Roots actor Lou Gossett, and some Hollywood-style movie cues. Only a fraction of this music was used in the mini-series; oddly, the most familiar piece of music, the often-repeated "Roots Mural Theme," is not by Jones, but by film composer Gerald Fried, who wrote most of the TV score. Though some prominent jazzers (Shelly Manne, Victor Feldman, Ernie Watts, Lee Ritenour, Richard Tee, etc.) turn up in the orchestra, there is not a trace of jazz to be heard. This is a timely souvenir of a cultural phenomenon, but merely a curiosity for jazz fans. ~ Richard S. Ginell

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Motherland - 0:29
  2. 2. Roots Mural Theme - 2:12
  3. 3. Main Title: Mama Aifambeni (Premiere Episode) - 1:01
  4. 4. Behold, the Only Thing Greater Than Yourself (Birth) - 1:28
  5. 5. Oluwa (Many Rains Ago) [African Theme] - 2:28
  6. 6. Boyhood to Manhood - 1:54
  7. 7. Toubob Is Here! (The Capture) - 1:01
  8. 8. Middle Passage (Slaveship Crossing) - 1:15
  9. 9. You in Americuh' Now, African - 1:32
  10. 10. Roots Mural Theme Intro (Slave Auction) - 0:21
  11. 11. Ole Fiddler - 1:06
  12. 12. Jumpin' de Broom (Marriage Ceremony) - 1:42
  13. 13. What Shall I Do? (Hush, Hush, Somebody's Calling My Name) - 2:16
  14. 14. Roots Mural Theme Bridge (Plantation Life) - 1:00
  15. 15. Oh Lord, Come by Here - 4:36
  16. 16. Free at Last? (The Civil War) - 2:24
  17. 17. (Many Rains Ago) Oluwa [African Theme] [English Version] - 5:55

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