22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This review is from: The Spirit Music Jamia : Dance Of The Infidel (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. Don't let this put you off though. The album is excellent. Contemporary but with acoustic respect. Jazz fans in search of new sounds often gripe about the 'electronicism' of nu-jazz/garage/house etc, even though they like its funky flava. This album is for them (& many others!). Buy it.