Africa Straight Ahead
by Various Artists

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Format:  CD
item number:  ZDP 3079
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CD Details

  • This title was released as SACD and standard CD version -- this is the standard CD.
  • Released: February 24, 2004
  • Originally Released: 2004
  • Label: Heads Up International

Description by OLDIES.com:

Standard CD (non-SACD version). Performers include: Hotep Idris Galeta, Paul Hanmer, Moses Khumalo, McCoy Mrubata, Bheki Mseleku, Zim Ngqawana, The Sheer All Stars, Voice, Marcus Wyatt, Andy Narell, Darius Brubeck.

With Smooth Africa and Smooth Africa II already out there forging alliances between American smooth jazz and South African pop, Heads Up tried a third volume in early 2004, ostensibly devoted to more straight-ahead transcontinental pursuits. At first, the promised agenda is followed quite faithfully; trumpeter Marcus Wyatt's "Owed to Bishop" is as straight-ahead a bebop workout as one could find this side of the Blue Note label circa 1965. Pianist Paul Hanmer's more inventive "Naivasha," with its circular passacaglia bassline and adventurous soloing, pretty much stays on the reservation, too. But then, township jive elements rear their catchy heads in saxophonist Moses Khumalo's "Celebrate Mzansi" -- and from this point onward, things are no longer on the straight and narrow. Among the more interesting fusions of this and that are the complex, changing rhythms of Voice's "Sweet Anathi," the joyous straight-up mixture of South African pop and smooth jazz on the Sheer All Stars' "Langery," and the latter group's intriguing, introspective "Lovers on Empty Corners," with a touch of wah-wah guitar in the rear. Listeners receive a musical postcard from Darius Brubeck, who has been based at the University of Natal in Durban since 1983. His group Afro Cool Concept has the same alto/piano/bass/drums format as his dad's famous quartets but "Tugela Rail," with its fairly simple piano lines and gently driving beat, operates in a completely different musical world. Heads Up artist Andy Narell makes another appearance on a South African project in "Dee Mwa Wee," a relaxed smooth jazz entry of no great distinction that goes on for too long. If anything, Heads Up's true colors ultimately surface as the program nears its close -- acoustic in instrumentation, yes, but still very much in the smooth jazz pocket. ~ Richard S. Ginell

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Product Info

  • Sales Rank: 48,223
  • UPC: 053361307929
  • Shipping Weight: 0.18/lbs (approx)
  • International Shipping: 1 item

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