Olu Dara In The World From Natchez To New York
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Singer-trumpeter-guitarist Olu Dara has been knocking around New York City's jazz circles for almost 20 years. On "In the World" he embraces Caribbean rhythms, African highlife/socca riffs, and gut-bucket blues. Vaguely reminiscent of Taj Mahal's fanciful integration of world music and the blues, Dara consistently straddles urban and rural artistry. Sophisticated yet irresistibly down-home, this collection is festive, tuneful, and engaging. Songs like "Rain Shower" and "Natchez Shopping Blues" are clearly based in the American folk-blues idiom, while "Okra" and "Your Lips" are closer to an Afro-Cuban aesthetic. Dara's warm voice is limited but expressive, and his guitar playing fundamentally percussive. On the other hand, Dara's trumpet is unique and extremely lucid. This album comprises a fascinating tour of several musical cultures. --Mitch Myers