The second album from Camilla George allows the acclaimed British sax player to reflect social, political and cultural values within eight beautiful tunes. The People Could Fly is based on a book of African stories created out of the sorrow of slavery. George says “I see these stories as a celebration of the human spirit” and this is a fine collection, concluding with an arrangmenet of Curtis Mayfield’s Here But I’m Gone.
She collaborates with a range of the coolest musicians Britain has to offer today – guitarist Shirley Tetteh, pianist Sarah Tandy, bassist Daniel Casimir and Winston Clifford and Femi Koleoso on drums. Vocals come from Cherise Adams-Burnett and Omar Lye-Fook and there’s a cameo performance from trumpeter Quentin Collins.
The album begins with Adams-Burnett’s vocals on Tappin the Land Turtle and it merges beautifully into the simple yet rhythmically complex He Lion, Bruh Bear, Bruh Rabbit. Across all the tunes and particularly the title track, George’s sax melds with the rhythm section and especially Tetteh’s intricate guitar lines and Tandy’s exquisite piano.
The choice of cover version to conclude the album – Here But I’m Gone by Curtis Mayfield – shows George’s ability to interpret the work of others and use her undoubted talent to add a different perspective. She’s quoted as saying “I see this track as a commentary on the black social condition in America and, with recent political events, I think it is even more poignant.”
George’s first album – Isang – was a promising debut album and The People Could Fly shows a developing talent. Each tune blends jazz and hip hop with African rhythms and lyrics. This is an album which both absorbs and reflects musical and political themes that are both current and timeless.