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.
All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.
African Jazz Beyond Jazz Big Band Blues Brazilian / Bossa Nova / Samba Classical / Chamber Dixieland / New Orleans / Swing Electronica Free Improv / Avant-Garde Fringes of Jazz Funk / Groove / Acid Jazz Fusion / Progressive Rock Jam Band Latin Modern Jazz R&B / Soul Straight-ahead (Bop, Hard bop, Cool) Vocal