On the fifth album of his career, appropriately titled Cinco De MOWO!, Mocean Worker, (pronounced Motion Worker) has concocted the quintessential feel-good summer album of 2007. The opening number, quite simply, says it best: "Shake Ya Boogie." In what has become the incomparable Mocean Worker sound, Dorn mixes and matches the best of modern beat-making with live musicians like trumpeters Herb Alpert ("Changes") and Steven Bernstein ("Shake Your Boogie"), bassist Marcus Miller ("Brown Liquor"), alto saxophonist Cochemea Gastelum ("Les & Eddie" and "Son of Sanford") and vocalists Morley ("I Got You") and Alana Da Fonseca ("Que Bom"). As on all Mocean Worker records, the legendary jazz icon Rahsaan Roland Kirk joins the party from the great beyond addind wicked flute ("Sis Boom Bah" & "Reykjavik"). Cinco De MOWO! is the follow up to Mocean Worker's 2005 release Enter The MOWO!, which went on to become his biggest album to date. It's where the true vision for the definitive Mocean Worker sound came into focus. While liberally embracing his jazz and funk influences, Mocean Worker crafted songs with undeniable hooks. On Cinco De MOWO!, that vision has evolved even further. More than just funky grooves, tunes like "Shake Ya Boogie," "Tickle It" and "Son of Sanford" find their way deep into the sub-conscious with melodies that reverberate long after the record has ended.
On Cinco de Mowo!
, which is, well, Mocean Worker's fifth album, Adam Dorn (a.k.a. Mocean Worker) continues where he left off on 2004's Enter the Mowo!
, which saw him eschewing his earlier drum and bass approach for a laidback mélange of breakbeats and scratchy old jazz samples, complete with live musicians. Dorn's strength in sampling remains apparent, and he finds new context for more samples than you can imagine, from mid-rangy old swing horns to piano loops, or the tone-dripping flute leads of the late Rahsaan Roland Kirk (credited as a guest musician despite his passing). Other collaborators remain with us. Herb Alpert contributes trumpet to the airy "Changes." Marcus Miller lays down a staccato bassline on the strutting "Brown Liquor," helping Dorn find the missing link between fat breakbeat and '30s big band swing. Alana Da Fonseca contributes a breathy vocal to "Que Bom," which is not too far removed from some of Alpert's South-American tangents. Steven Bernstein lays down live trumpet on the opening "Shake Ya Boogie," which is the single, and appropriately so. It's a tasty mix of swing samples over some time-proven breaks, and sets the stage for the rest of the album. Cinco de Mowo!
has low points, moments where it doesn't stray too far from stock '90s electronica like that of the Future Sound of Jazz
compilations. But as a whole, the beats are fairly inventive and the samples are creatively applied. It's not like Dorn is out to change the world, anyway. A disturbing number of reviews mention backyard summer barbeques, a revealing evocation--it's clear he's out to make good-time, danceable, jazz-influenced tunes. If they act as a jazz gateway drug, all the better. --Jason Pace