Jake Sollo was one of the most prolific innovative musicians from Nigeria in the 70s and 80s. His talents as a rhythm guitar player saw him through much of his career where he played with several Nigerian bands of varying styles. After a stint in the beat group the Hykkers (which he formed whilst studying at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka) then went on to wider recognition as a member of the Funkees. Sollo then went on to play with famed Afro-rock group Osibisa. His stint working alongside group leader Teddy Osei. The Funkees had become very popular, not just in Nigeria where a rough demo of the track “Akula Owu Onyeara” was on constant rotation at the East-Central State Broadcasting Service, but the track was went on to be picked up by the BBC DJ John Peel.
After successes in bands, Sollo went solo and found a steady stream of work in London as a session musician and a producer. He returned to Nigeria in 1981 where he produced “bouncy, high gloss boogie” which was incredibly in demand. He had a distinctive playing and producing style and was incredibly popular. He utilized synthesizers which were uncommon in Nigeria at the time
The 1979 “Jake Sollo” self titled album was produced for Pye / Disques Esperance in London. Touches of pop, plenty of African groove, moments of psychedelica… all bound together with Jakes distinctive guitar playing and sleek production. These are sounds that are reminiscent of African music lovers contemporary of Sollo such as David Byrne and Talking Heads, and Paul Simon in Graceland, but with a glittering grooviness that is all Jake Sollo.
Sadly Jakes career was cut short when he tragically died in a car accident in 1985. Depriving the world of no doubt what would have been decades of more innovative and creative music.