How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Poll-winning Detroit-reared bassist Dave Sharp (Killer Joe Trio, The Melvins) takes you around the world in a little under an hour. Here, the bassist gathers a large international cast, appearing on alternating tracks. Following Secret Seven (Blue Pie, 2010), the artist extends his reach but still interconnects Western and Eastern modalities with the jazz vernacular. One of the major positives of this outing is that it doesn't sound mechanical or what may be considered standard world music fare. Each piece tenders a soul-stirring vista, featuring subtle hues, layered treatments, and a seamless integration of disparate styles and genres.
Sharp merges swampy New Orleans grooves with East Indian raga-like content, along with modern jazz statements and vocals that seemingly float above the variable metrics. He merges spry, Middle Eastern and North African applications, employing artists who perform on indigenous percussion and stringed-instruments. On "Eastern Flame," Sharp anchors a straight-four jazz-rock pulse via his pliant lines for a rather sultry oeuvre that is breezy yet forceful by design and tinted with mystical attributes, and wordless vocal chants.
The program contains a touch of exotica, and it's easy to detect the players' proclamation of good cheer, framed on a high-level of craftsmanship and rock-solid technical acumen. Hence, it's not always business as usual unlike many other products of this ilk. Otherwise, the ensemble exercises a piquant and spirited soul-jazz jaunt on "Nu Africa," which is one of three bonus tracks tacked on to the end of the album. With extended horns and featuring Cheikh Lo's vocals the band merges a festive union of incongruent musical spirits. Ultimately, Sharp's creative edge and perspicacious gameplan instills a comprehensive and extremely entertaining agenda, sans any filler material or superfluous soloing escapades.
Track Listing: Sherehe; Nu Africa; Return; Mystery Blues; Sunrise; Eastern Flame;
Desert Sky; Kalinjar; Rain Raga; Dakar Detroit; Nu Africa – The D Mix;
Nu Africa – Nola Mix; Nu Africa – Nola Mix.
Personnel: Dave Sharp: electric and upright bass; Chris Kaecher: saxophones and
flute (1, 2, 6, 7, 8); Cheikh Lo: vocals (2), drums (10); Parthiv
Gohil: vocals (3,4,6,9); Walter White: trumpet and flugelhorn (1,2);
Gayelynne McKinney: drums (2,3,4,6); Elden Kelly: fretless guitar,
cumbush (3,5,6,7); Caroly Koebel: percussion (1,5,7); Pathe Jassi:
guitar (10); Gary Schunk: piano (4,8); Atmaram Chaitanya: tamboura
(6,8); Mehdi Darvishi: Daf (5); Samba Ndokh Mbaye: Tama (2,11-13);
John Churchville: tabla (6); Jay Antani: table (8,9); Eenor: guitar
and guitarra (9); Igor Houwat: oud (5); Indrajit Roy Chowdhury: sitar
(8); Andre Frappier: lead guitar (1); Evan Perri: rhythm guitar (1);
Chris Codish: Hammond B3 (2); Duncan McMillan: Hammond B3 (3);
Prashanth Gururaja: violin (3); Eric Wilhelm: drums (12).