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Quick and to the Point : Contempo Africanized jazz flavored by various feels led by bass guitar.
Bassist Gito Baloi presented his third album under his leadership after almost four years after his last release. Herbs & Roots is the result and lovers of contemporary jazz will most definitely like his production, composing, arranging and performing. His playing and vocalizations are as democratic as is the interaction of the supporting cast with his tasteful, funkified, and Africanized pop stances. Framed within a smoky and earthy jazz, swaying pinches of supplementary worldly musical sayings, this recording is characterized by radio friendliness with a chunky vibe.
“Hinkwafo” is vocalized and a comfortable ride that actually doesn’t culminate until one arrives at “Township Drive.” Problem is, you don’t arrive and keep cruising on the easy vibe... “Location” is party time after the drive. Vusi Maseko muses the piano with Baloi’s sureness in “Tiva” and that’s all is needed there. “Xawane” is a pretty tune in electronica. “Zumba Funky” is the type of tune smooth jazz stations would play during drive time to pep their audiences up. “That's Right” is nicely grounded on a cascading effect over a pocket of jazzy fun. “Verdade,” or “truth” in Portuguese, is a Latinized vehicle for Baloi’s groove and he does well indeed. “Herbs & Roots” is aptly titled as it is just that, herbs and roots with the steel pans flavoring the air with sax... “Harrow Road” travels through urban grounds, hence, its jazz cosmopolitanism voiced by sax and a laid back punchy comfortable sense of abstraction in its rhythmic base. “Sad Melody” is a personal dedication that leans heavily on the melodic part, rather than in sadness; albeit one needs to be reminded that such an emotion can funnel beauty as well as any other. “Ntyilo Ntyilo” is a ballad well known in South Africa treated here with much feeling by the singing of Thuli Madlosi. The closer’s title has nothing to do with the Borg, as this “Drone” is more akin to meditative endeavors that would require stronger music than the usual fare associated with such practices. Miles Davis would’ve love to do his thing on this one as Marcus Wyatt does so well here.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.