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Jasper Van’t Hof Pili Pili

Jasper Van’t Hof Pili Pili


In 1984, Jasper Van’t Hof, a prominent European jazz pianist, propelled to fame with the energetic ‘Pili Pili’ a 15-minute trance collaboration with Guinea's Isaac Tagul Group. Inspired by a fiery red pepperoni, the track sold over 100,000 copies, leading the group to adopt the name Pili Pili, becoming a hit in the club and disco scene.

Pili Pili's musical roots trace back to Van’t Hof's 1982-83 tour in Central Africa, where he discovered a love for African music. The band embraced authenticity by collaborating with diverse African musicians from Mali, Congo, Senegal, and Guinea. In 2000, Van’t Hof initiat-ed a project with the young Zulu choir Phikelela Sakhu-la from Durban, South Africa.
Pili Pili's style, described as experimental fusion, blends intricate African rhythms with jazz, fusion, funk, and dance. Van’t Hof emphasized the importance of groove over complex solos, stating that intellectual approaches are lost in their music.

The band's performances, marked by their energetic fusion of jazz and African rhythms, gained acclaim across Europe. Regular tours and festival appearances, such as the Jazz Festival of Montreux, solidified Pili Pili's reputation as an excellent live band. Reviews praised the band's dynamic and explosive music, turn-ing every performance into a rhythmic and fiery expe-rience.

Pili-Pili is essential, every home should have one, and to that end NuNorthern Soul are doing a legit reissue (the album and 12 have been out of print since 1984). On the A-side of the new single is an edit from the mid-90s, which does a terrific job of tightening up the OG album mix, losing the Burundi breakdowns and fuzz guitar washes, but still rolling and building beautifully for over 15 minutes. That’s backed by a Coyote remix, which is full of subtle twists to keep old heads on their toes. The cowbell and chants are dropped into echo, the drumming further doubled by delay. Loops, filtering and phasing, adding to the track’s trance-inducing properties. The duo’s dubwise trickery pulling in favourable comparisons to Adrian Sherwood’s seminal seismic shake of the aforementioned Unknown Cases’ Ma Simba Belle.

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