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Dance of the Infidels Import

2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (23 Mar. 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Universal
  • ASIN: B0007OE12W
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

1. Mu-Min - Don Byron, Oliver Lake, Me'Shell Ndegéocello, Josh Roseman
2. Al-Falaq 113 - Michael Cain, Mino Cinelu, Gene Lake, Me'Shell Ndegéocello, Wallace Roney
3. Aquarium - Me'Shell Ndegéocello,
4. Papillon - Kenny Garrett, Matthew Garrison, Me'Shell Ndegéocello, Federico Gonzalez Peña
5. Dance of the Infidel - Oran Coltrane, Chris 'Daddy' Dave, Kenny Garrett, Me'Shell Ndegéocello
6. Chosen - Michael Cain, Me'Shell Ndegéocello, , Cassandra Wilson
7. Luqman - Don Byron, Jack DeJohnette, Oliver Lake, Gregoire Maret, Me'Shell Ndegéocello
8. Heaven - Chris 'Daddy' Dave, Neal Evans, Lalah Hathaway, Me'Shell Ndegéocello

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 Feb. 2005
Format: Audio CD
Earlier releases gave the listener a taste of what the talented Meshell Ndegeocello is capable of, but Dance of the Infidels opens the book. This is her best release to date. We are spared the lyrical tub thumping/sentimentalism that perhaps stalked some previous releases, instead being presented with fantastic composition and some inspired collaboration.
I like Track 1. It says 'just before we get underway, let me remind you I am queen of the nu-jazz funk groove scene too'. Short & sweet.
Track 2; Though always rooted in the jazz idiom, Meshell keeps you guessing on the track's direction for the first 2 minutes. From there, she explores jazz-funk and later a trippy soundscape before the saxophone transports you into a heavy fusion improv. The frenzy thins towards the end.
Track 3 is a sublime mix of haunting vocals and subtle funky polyrhythm accompaniment. If you play it at volume in your car, it sounds/feels like you are inside the PA, the production is that good. My pick of the album.
Track 4 is a soundscape odyssey. Perfect p.m. slouching material.
Track 5; a warm funky groove you feel just wants to step out & cuddle you. The Bass and Hammond interplay is pure class.
Track 6; More p.m mellowness, this time caressed by Cassandra Wilson's dulcet vocal tones. Think misty late night jazz bar.
Track 7 opens with a promising flamenco bass riff that dissolves into a rhythmic pulse. It could go anywhere but largely supports cool muted trumpet soloing. The track is later hijacked by some ill conceived reed-squealing.
Track 8 has a bluesy feel to it. Many talk about 'chill out' music. Track 8 delivers.
Why not 5 stars? The tenor saxophone/clarinet is overkill, especially on track 2, bits of track 5 and track 7. Fans of composition will find it petulant.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. D. Naylor TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 21 May 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This c.d was a big disappointment to me - i had high expectations but it failed to deliver.
With guest soloists of the likes of Kenny Garrett,Oliver Lake,Don byron,Wallace Roney and Ron Blake i was expecting something special but it just doesn't catch fire.
The tempos are all slow and the soloists all contribute quite free blowing solos that makes the whole thing seem like a jam session.
A major disappointment for me.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 43 reviews
62 of 66 people found the following review helpful
Pure Jazz 11 July 2005
By Michael Crowley - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I like this CD a lot, but I can understand why Meshell's record company didn't know what to do with it, and why some of her fans don't like it. This is nothing like any other recording with her name on it. What it is is a great example of contemporary, straight-ahead jazz, with just a little bit of avant-garde flava.

There is definitely an In a Silent Way/Bitches Brew feel to some of the CD, what with the extended jams by large ensembles on tunes like Al-Falaq 113 and Luqman, but this is pure jazz, not jazz rock or jazz funk-soulful and modern, but not fusion. While there's electric bass throughout, electric guitar on one cut and electric keyboards and subtle atmospheric electronics on others, the instrumentation is predominantly acoustic-sax, trumpet, clarinet, piano, drums, harmonica, and voice. The last song, the standard When Did You Leave Heaven, sung by Lalah Hathaway, has such a traditional arrangement it could have been recorded any time in the last fifty years.

I have to admit that without her name on it I wouldn't have known Meshell had anything to do with this CD, but now that I know I hear her influence in the sultry, stony vibe some of the tunes have, like Aquarium (lots of spacey electronics on that one, with a beautiful vocal by someone named Sabina-I heard it as an anti-purdah song, but maybe it's just about a suffocating love affair); the title track, which is probably the most overtly "soulful" of the tracks on the CD; and especially the incredibly sexy song Cassandra Wilson sings, The Chosen, which incorporates lines from The Song of Solomon and ends with her purring "Come bare your soul to me...Come bare your soul to me...come....come....come...." But it's not all laid-back-those jams get pretty wild, as you would expect with players like Oliver Lake and Don Byron involved. The arrangements, incidentally, are beautiful throughout, with nice little touches like the steel drum solo that introduces Papillon.

This is a Meshell Ndegeocello (or as she is called everywhere but the front of the CD, Meshell Suhala Bashir-Shakur) project, not a Meshell Ndegeocello CD. She's very involved in that she wrote or co-wrote all but one of the tunes (only three of which are actually songs), co-produced and co-arranged the album, and is present on most of the cuts. On the other hand, she doesn't sing at all, doesn't play on three cuts (accounting for 24 minutes of the CD's 62 minute playing time), and shares bass-playing duties with another musician on 2 cuts.

But who cares? It's a great record. I hope the connection with her moves more units and opens more ears.

I did a little research and found out the brief opening track's name, Mu-min, means "a person who has deep faith in Allah and is a righteous and obedient servant of His." Al-Falaq 113 refers to one of the Koran's suras of refuge. Al Falaq means "The Dawn", and the number is the number of the sura, It's a very short sura. One translation goes "Say: 'I seek refuge with the Lord of the Dawn/From the mischief of created things/From the mischief of Darkness as it overspreads/From the mischief of those who practice Secret Arts/and from the mischief of the envious one as he practices envy." Luqman is the 31st sura of the Koran, named after Luqman the Sage. It is much too long to quote here. It's a profession of faith, urging people to turn their backs on their pagan traditions and follow the teachings of Muhammad and the way of Allah. It concludes "Verily the knowledge of the Hour is with Allah (alone). It is He Who sends down rain, and He Who knows what is in the wombs. Now does any one know what it is that he will earn on the morrow: Now does any one know in what land he is to die. Verily with Allah is full knowledge and he is acquainted with all things."
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Shakur Nuff! 23 Jun. 2005
By JL - Published on
Format: Audio CD
i cannot say enough in praise of this landmark instant classick. with this release, MeShell has cemented her place in the J-Lexicon. what she has done with this stunningly, simmeringly beautiful and expansive jazzscape is the hardest thing to do in music: create something with universal, popular and instant accessibility while mining spiritual and heartfelt depth from The Muse.
"Spiritual Groove" indeed. this is SPIRITUAL music. do you know how hard that is to do and make and sell and make popular in these ever-corporate, ever-marginalized, ever-attention-diminishing-i-Times? this record is on a direct line from Coltrane's Love Supreme and Miles's slow-burning fusion albums. it is that good, that inspired, that necessary.

Cohesive and cogent, pungent and potent, truly and fully composed jazz statements of a hip-pastoral nature. expansive but tight organic grooves provide foundation for improv and soloing that is taste and freedom but never goes too out, always revolving around strong and compelling themes. this is not an experimental thing, its an in thing and a cool thing. Slow-burning and structured, orchestrated around the idea of freedom. like Sufis in slow-motion. Gracefully hypnotic.

3 12-minute quiet groove suites interspersed with 3 cool r+bish vocal songs, all exquisite, the 7.5 minute jewel of a title track and the timetraveling intro. there is little of the upfront bootyshakin funk bass thOmp she has done plently of in the past (for a sick-ass, if muted, example hear track 7: Luqman) this is another album, a wider and higher intent, and a bigger picture. ("influenced by life, Miles Davis, Kool Herc, Carl Sagan and holy scripture") this work invites everyone to come and traverse its pleasures and the sophisticated sweetness of its truths.

also of note is the Islamic/Arabic theme of the graphics/packaging/title/namechange to Bashir-Shakur. Me-Shell's publishing tag is Revolutionary Jazz Giant. while not revolutionary from a strictly musicological point, expressing truth and god by way of the Islamic lens is a revolutionary and quite needed thing to do in this country in these times. she is calling for understanding of Truth and a bridging of gaps. nothing does that so well as the universal language. with the universal language displayed on this album, she has traversed the path from John Mellencamp gimmick to true Jazz Giant.

this recording is for the jazzbo snobs onto the latest and freshest and for the pop music fan whose only jazz cd is Kind of Blue. this is for you, if you have ears, a heart, a head, and soul. if you have yearned for more, this record yearns for you. Blessed be The Muse and her most diligent prophets.

Rare and Universal, like the woman herself.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
...and now Grammy Nominated...(again) 1 Jan. 2006
By Derek - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Meshell's "Spirit Music Jamia: Dance of the Infidel" album has been nominated for a Grammy in the Contemporary Jazz category...

it deserves it.

I won't give a extremely detailed review here since many before have already spoken about the beauty of this record...suffice to say i agree with most of em.

Its a gem...if you're open to it, its a straight up gem...

mostly instrumental jazz with some stellar musicians, along with a handful of wonderful vocal tracks with some equally stellar vocalists.

Where i will respectfully disagree with few reviewers is that this didn't initially sound to them like a "Meshell" record. To me, from day one, it ALWAYS sounded like Meshell record even without her trademark vocals. Of course, since the first time of hearing Meshells music back in 1993 i've always been attracted to Meshell the 'Musician/Composer' first, Meshell the 'Vocalist' second...and i actually listen to ALL of her records - including the vocal albums- with that 'musician/composer' bias in place (i tend to focus first on the bass melodies & the musical instrument interactions & compositions and then on the vocals)...

So i guess thats why, for me Dance of The Infidel IS a VERY 'Meshell' spite of the omission of her wonderful voice.

And don't get me wrong now...i LOVE her vocals. In fact her voice, vocal phrasing, tone & style is one of the most expressive there is out there in my opinion. (She and Peter Gabriel both have an ability to emmit emotion in very unique, powerful and pure way). And I do hope she doesn't abandon her voice ALTOGETHER on future recordings. My hope is that future recordings blend the best of both of her worlds...some instrumental Meshell jams AND some vocal Meshell jams. So yeah, i LOVE her voice without a doubt... I just think that these compositions on this latest record stand very strongly on their own as instrumental and expressive pieces. (and now Grammy nominated pieces at this point. :) good luck Meshell)

so, pick this up if you're open to experiencing a variety of haunting & powerful compositions performed by some great musicians and vocalists who were really 'tuning in' to each other while the tape was running. Put it on on a rainy 'stay-in' Sunday morning or a dim-lit Friday night ...and turn the volume up and let it take you for a ride.

if you're looking for more info on Meshell you may want to check out the great fan-run website


it has everything you need to know about her recordings, influences, performances, reviews, interviews etc...

enjoy the music...
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Dance of the Infidel 22 Jun. 2005
By Aamir Lee Bermiss - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I speak overmuch because the music really will say enough. Don't get this album if you're not open-minded about music and especially if you're not open-minded about Meshell's music. The album is beautiful, the writing and the playing is incredible. The live show is more taxing that a religious fast (for me, anyway). Many people have been upset by her new sound however, so i don't think perhaps you may have to work a little bit to get this stuff. for the jazz cats, this isn't soullive or something jammy like that (which is not to disparage that stuff completely either), this is music that any serious musician in the so-called black music scene should be listening to. and closely. and go buy a ticket and support the band. god, i hope the come out with a live album and keep playing the venues let us get close enough to see them make the music. in many ways, i am still speechless.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Incredible! 8 July 2005
By Steve B. - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I heard rumors of MeShell doing a jazz CD maybe a year ago and the wait has been well worth it. She has an great line up of musicians with her such has Kenny Garrett, Wallace Roney, Matthew Garrison, Cassandra Wilson, Lalah Hathaway, and others. If you're new to jazz you will find this a great intro.

MeShell is the total artist, writing, playing, producing, while sharing her life in doing so. MeShell's CD's are the only ones I buy without hesitation anymore, she hasn't let me down yet. You owe it to yourself to check it out.
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