In Search Of The Lost Riddim brings Ernest Ranglin and trusted bass man Ira Coleman to Senegal, West Africa. As the liner notes tell us, in search of the lost riddim that for 400 years has been brought along from the African shores to the South-American and Caribbean plantations. The music that the people forced to a life of slavery took with them – no matter if it was banned with barbaric consequences if caught – had a great effect on the development of many musical styles or genres throughout the Western hemisphere that echoes in today’s music still. It is with this in mind they set out to what was once the door of no return for many slaves deported to the new world bound and chained leaving everything behind but their culture, beliefs and music.
Once back to mainland Senegal, Ernest and Ira are reminded about the cultural richness that surrounds them as the country holds to some accounts to over 20 different bigger and smaller ethnic groups with different languages, cultures and music right down to specific instruments in some cases. This melting pot has been the source of inspiration to create this album whereas the music represents a phycisal manifestation of what they thought was lost.
It is refreshing to hear Ernest Ranglin’s sublime guitar play breaking outside the Reggae-Jazz mold. Also, the arrangements aren’t just in service of it either. It is rather a communion of gifted musicians and their love for music that has been captured through a 24-track Neve board on analogue tape with no electric instrument in sight. The number of musicians who took part of this project says a lot about the respect for Ernest Ranglin and just how big his influence has been over the past 6 decades even across 6.000 km of rough ocean. Featuring an acoustic ensemble of percussionists – different pitched Sabar drums native to Senegal, Trap, Tama and Djembe drums – supported by a drum kit on some tracks playfully interspersed by Ernest’s guitar, Barou on the Hoddu and Kawding on the Kora. The latter two are specific types of African lutes and both are ancient instruments that evoke an energy that is as old as the instruments themselves. To top it off they included El Hadji on three of the tracks to play the Calabash and add some propulsion to the already rich percussive drive of the session. The whole album feels so alive and organic, one can really soak in the positive vibes of the session as if it is taking place in your living room with nothing but smiles and admiration for one another.
Next to Below The Bassline and Memories Of Barber Mack, In Search Of The Lost Riddim deservedly took place as one of my favorite post Ska and Early Reggae albums by Guitar maestro Ernest Ranglin.