Having come to the U.S. from his native Nigeria to study medicine, percussionist Babatunde Olatunji eventually became one of the first African music stars in the States. He also soon counted jazz heavyweights like John Coltrane ("Tunji") and Dizzy Gillespie among his admirers (Gillespie had, a decade earlier, also courted many Cuban music stars via his trailblazing Latin jazz recordings). And, in spite of it being viewed by some as a symbol of African chic, Drums of Passion is still a substantial record thanks to Olatunji's complex and raw drumming.
Commemorating the 25th anniversary of Passion and Warfare comes a special 2CD edition of the album which includes the first-ever release of Vai's Modern Primitive songs and recordings. Based on song sketches and works-in-progress penned, and recorded, by Vai following the release of Flex-Able, the artist's debut album, in January 1984, the music on Modern Primitive has been completed by Steve for release as a full album bonus disc in the Passion and Warfare 25th Anniversary Edition. Passion and Warfare 25th Anniversary Edition was remastered from the original ½" Ampex 456 30ips analog master tapes.
After his Mass for a New Century and his Requiem, the French composer and organist Frédéric Ledroit has written a new Saint John Passion for soloists and large orchestra, first performed in 2018 in Germany by the interpreters of this recording. The composer writes: “… It will be too long here to describe the integration of symbolism and figurative forms included in this work, which was rewritten several times. To point out only one example, probably the most strange and immediately perceptible by the listener: the role of Saint John, successively represented by three singers, contralto, mezzo-soprano, and then soprano, from bass to treble, in this order in the score. Voices are raising as the action progresses. Exactly like Dante crawling into hell before flying in Paradise.”