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Global Fusions and African Connections

Read "Global Fusions and African Connections" reviewed by Geno Thackara

Whatever may be going wrong in the world, there are always some figures (especially artists) out there reminding us of the importance of community and celebration. Without making a direct statement on the strange circumstances of 2020, this batch of recordings nonetheless offers just the kind of vibrant affirmation the times need. Duende Libre ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Brooklyn Funk Essentials: Stay Good

Read "Stay Good" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

Back in the day, jazz bands like Roy Ayers' Ubiquity and soul bands like the Ohio Players played more than jazz and soul. Jazz and soul were their main ingredient, but only one ingredient among others stirred in from R&B, funk, pop, Latin and other music. You might have heard them on different radio stations, but ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Randy Napoleon: Common Tones

Read "Common Tones" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

Randy Napoleon may represent the new school of Detroit guitar players emerging from the lineage of Kenny Burrell and (Motown) Funk Brothers Dennis Coffey and Joe Messina, but his approach and sound on Common Tones are old school for sure. His fifth set as a leader (on the Detroit Music Factory label) collaborates across four generations ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Molly Tigre: Molly Tigre

Read "Molly Tigre" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

Personally, I can't resist a musical story that begins: “Molly Tigre set out from Brooklyn to answer one tough question: What if the 70s vibes of the cult Ethiopiques series collided with Saharan desert rock and West African blues, but with no guitar to lead the melodic way?" I'm not quite sure what some of that ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Hip Spanic All-Stars: Old School Revolution

Read "Old School Revolution" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

If you think that Old School Revolution sounds both familiar and new, you're right. In the late 2000s, bassist and singer Happy Sanchez, saxophonist Norbert Stachel (Tower of Power), percussionist Karl Perazzo (a longstanding member of Santana), and drummer Jay Lane (Primus) hooked up, during timeouts from their more regular gigs, in the Mission ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Afro-Cuban All Stars: Absolutely Live II

Read "Absolutely Live II" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

You can find many groups who call themselves “Afro-Cuban All Stars." But few have the pedigree of this ensemble led by vocalist Juan de Marcos, co-architect of the legendary Cuban roots Buena Vista Social Club sessions (1997, Nonesuch/Elektra) and dubbed by Downbeat as “the Quincy Jones of Cuban music." Marcos' first new music in six years ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Louisiana Soul Revival: Louisiana Soul Revival Featuring Doug Duffey

Read "Louisiana Soul Revival Featuring Doug Duffey" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

Louisiana Soul Revival (LSR) frontman and primary composer Doug Duffey--already enshrined in the Louisiana Hall of Fame (in 2001) and the National Blues Hall of Fame (2009)--sure knows his musical roots. “North Louisiana, in the Mississippi Delta, has deep musical roots in the blues, Memphis soul, southern gospel, rock 'n' roll, folk, and hybrids that are ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Avataar: Petal

Read "Petal" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

While growing up in the Northern Ontario mining town of Sunbury, he was known as “Sam." But in his early twenties, Sundar Viswanathan reconnected with his Indian name and heritage, and, through several conservatory courses spanning North Indian classical to Turkish maquam music, dove deeply into his Indian musical roots as a saxophonist and composer.

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Kaoru Watanabe: Néo

Read "Néo" reviewed by James Nadal

Nostalgia, in Japanese, lightly translates into natsukashisa, a yearning for something from the past. American born, multi-instrumentalist Kaoru Watanabe has reverted to his ancestral Japan for inspiration on Néo, a synthesis of dignified taiko drumming with the jazz sensibility of improvisation. Prepared with a degree in jazz flute and saxophone performance, Watanabe spent a decade performing ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Moken: Chapters Of My Life

Read "Chapters Of My Life" reviewed by James Nadal

It is a long way from the seaside city of Limbe, in Cameroon, to the tough streets of Detroit, in search of a dream. Singer/songwriter Moken Nunga made this journey to attend designer school, and wound up in Atlanta, making music as Moken. Chapters Of My Life, is his story, dealing with adversity en route, and ...


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