This set of ten tunes aspires to carry you off to some tropical beach with its light, breezy rhythms and the mellow timbres of acoustic guitar, marimba, and percussion. The liner notes call it “a musical journey that will take you to many locales,” and this is true. There isn’t any one particular style of Caribbean music that predominates here, it’s just sort of generic beach. Nevertheless, the program fulfills its ambitions pretty well. On “Dunes,” the flavor is African, “Falling Again” has a calypso beat, and “December Bossa” obviously suggests Brazil. There’s nothing really muscular or challenging here, but that’s not the intent. The closest this set gets to jazz is “November High,” which hints at swing, and the dark angst-ridden ballad “Scared to Love,” with heavy-vibrato vibes and sensual sax.
The basic trio of Jo(h)ns is heavily supplemented by some famous names. Keyboardist Patrice Rushen and drummer Ndugu Chancler are present on almost every tune, and their instruments are prominent in the arrangements to the extent that one wonders how trio would sound just by itself. Rushen contributes a nice reedy/flutish synth solo on “Flotilla”, as does Gerald Albright on flute. Albright adds sax to several other numbers.
So when you’re in the mood for mellowing out and daydreaming of a tropical getaway, grab a rum drink and let Gold Coast’s Latitudes take you there.
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