All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Bokani Dyer: World Music

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
It's not exactly a secret that the concept of "World Music" isn't all that its name implies. That tag, still in wide use today, became somewhat meaningless a couple decades back, serving primarily as an umbrella category to market any and every form of non-Western music to Western ears. But South African pianist Bokani Dyer sees it differently. His own vision of this ideal is based on musical egalitarianism, or, as noted on his own website, "a celebration of all music with no borders." And while that may seem too lofty a goal, he does a remarkable job seeing it through here. Nothing is off limits as Dyer uses his pen and piano to craft a musical Esperanto of sorts.

Dyer, as with many if not most top South African jazz players, remains somewhat off the radar for American audiences, but his star has been steadily on the rise since 2011. That's when he took home the Standard Bank Young Artist Award and released his superb sophomore album—Emancipate The Story (Dyertribe Music, 2011). In the years since that record's release, a diet of local performance, touring, and writing has helped him grow and mature at a rapid pace, leading to what can be heard on World Music.

Across twelve tracks, Dyer sums up his inclusive musical philosophy, touching on soulful notes, spiritual tones, sophisticated concepts, and simply presented notions. He looks here, there, and everywhere in search of sound and meaning, but there are no overtly placed pins on the map. There are, however, reference points, intentional or not, in this music. Dyer seems to bridge the gap between late period Miles Davis and Robert Glasper on "Recess," marrying a pop-fusion aesthetic with a neo-soul sound; the joyous feel of the stadium horn merges with post-modern Cape Town sounds during "Vuvuzela"; J.S. Bach and Abdullah Ibrahim seem to be at the the heart of the brief "African Piano-Water," a number that finds Dyer alone with his mbira-like prepared piano; and a Terence Blanchard-esque quality comes to the surface on "Waiting, Falling," one of several numbers that showcase trumpeter Robin Fassie-Kock. Elsewhere, Dyer seems to strike at the heart of emotional conflict. Turbulent thoughts are balanced off with persistence and hope on "Interlude-See My People Through," while pensive musings organically evolve and develop into more active impressions on the trio-focused "Reflection."

Dyer works with a well-matched crew here, a band that plays to new ideas while also referencing his previous work. Notables from Emancipate The Story—bassist Shane Cooper and saxophonist Buddy Wells—mix with standout newcomers like Fassie-Kock and alto saxophonist Justin Bellairs. Together, they help Dyer to create a brand of music that's as far-reaching as the album title implies, yet firmly rooted in the soil of South Africa.

Track Listing: Waiting, Falling; Vuvuzela; Reflection; Outro; Transit; The Artist; Interlude-See My People Through; Recess; Keynote; Master Of Ceremony; African Piano-Water; Motho Wa Modimo.

Title: World Music | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Self Produced


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Neo Native

Neo Native

Self Produced

World Music

World Music

Self Produced


Related Articles

Read Kinship CD/LP/Track Review
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2018
Read Ask For Chaos CD/LP/Track Review
Ask For Chaos
by Gareth Thompson
Published: August 18, 2018
Read Homage to a Dreamer CD/LP/Track Review
Homage to a Dreamer
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: August 18, 2018
Read Live At Cafe Amores CD/LP/Track Review
Live At Cafe Amores
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2018
Read Passion Reverence Transcendence CD/LP/Track Review
Passion Reverence Transcendence
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: August 17, 2018
Read Inner Voice CD/LP/Track Review
Inner Voice
by Don Phipps
Published: August 17, 2018
Read "Tribute to Bobby" CD/LP/Track Review Tribute to Bobby
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 5, 2017
Read "Stax Singles, Vol. 4: Rarities & Best of the Rest" CD/LP/Track Review Stax Singles, Vol. 4: Rarities & Best of the Rest
by Jim Trageser
Published: February 25, 2018
Read "Cyrille Aimee Live" CD/LP/Track Review Cyrille Aimee Live
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 29, 2018
Read "Icaros" CD/LP/Track Review Icaros
by Rokas Kucinskas
Published: February 28, 2018
Read "Detour Ahead" CD/LP/Track Review Detour Ahead
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 7, 2018
Read "Get Somethin'" CD/LP/Track Review Get Somethin'
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 17, 2018