New York-based bassist Michael Olatuja has released his star-studded new album, Lagos Pepper Soup. It’s the follow-up to his 2013 album, The Promise, which he recorded with his wife Alicia Olatuja.
Lagos Pepper Soup is loaded with guest artists including singers Angélique Kidjo, Laura Mvula and Dianne Reeves, harpist Brandee Younger and saxophonist Joe Lovano, just to name a few. “All these guests are people I’ve worked with, who inspire me and who I consider friends,” Olatuja said in a statement. They join Olatuja’s core band of drummer Terreon Gully, keyboardists Aaron Parks and Etienne Stadwijk, saxophonist/vocalist Camille Thurman and percussionist Magatte Sow.
Lagos Pepper Soup blends West African Afrobeats and jazz to explore themes of “hope, inspiration, and new beginnings,” Olatuja said. “This recording started at a very tough time in my life, and it’s cathartic and healing. I had to separate myself into two people: my older self, and my younger self, as if the older me were speaking to the younger me, encouraging me, and thus, encouraging whoever’s listening. That was the motivation for how this album happened. Most of my recordings are like that: Whatever season or journey I’m going through in my life, the music speaks to myself [and] others.”
Dig into Lagos Pepper Soup below: