Orlando Julius: Nigerian highlife and Afro-beat

Orlando Julius, a Nigerian saxophonist and horn player from Osun State, began his musical career in 1959, when he joinedEddie Okonta’s Top Aces highlife dance band in lbadan. During that time, he played with Louis Armstrong on the great American jazz trumpeter’s second trip to Africa in 1960.
In 1963 Orlando formed his own Modern Aces highlife dance band in lbadan tourism.
and made his first hit record, entitled ‘Jaguar Nana’ and released it on the Phillips label. His music was a fusion of high life andjazz and in 1966, when soul music became popular in Nigeria, he released his album’ Super Afro-Soul’.
As a result of this soul influence, Orlando changed the name of the band to the Afro-Sounders in 1967 and, like fellow Nigerians, F ela Anikulakpo-Kuti and Segun Bucknor, Orlando was a pioneer of what later became called Afro-beat, In 1974 Orlando traveled and lived in the United States for a while where, together with Nigerian and Ghanaian musicians, ~tanley and Frankie Todd, Glen Warren and Okyerema Asante) he formed the Omaja and Ashiko bands. While in the United States, he also worked with Hugh Masekela, Lamont Dozier, The Crusaders, Isaac Hayes, Gil Scott Heron and Gladys Knight. He returned to Nigeria to form theNigerian All Stars band and later moved to Ghana, where he currently resides.

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