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Truly a Five Star Album,
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This review is from: Fresh Fruit in Foreign Places (Audio CD)
Long a critical favorite, this record is one of the best releases of the 1980's. This digital remaster does justice to the original, whose lyrical virtuosity and standout musicianship, as well as outstanding production, made it an instant vintage.
An "album" in the best sense of the word, this is enlightened "mulatto music" for the masses. Standout tracks include "Schweinerei," and "In the Jungle," and of course "Me No Pop I," whose twelve inch mix is included in this remaster. But do yourself a favor and enjoy this album as the complete work of art it was intended to be.
How good do I think this record is? I play cuts from this album (and the entire album when time permits) in my introductory African Diaspora classes and workshops. There are few truly modern works of art that embody the concept of "Creole" as skillfully as this work does, not just in terms of stamps on one's passport, but also in terms of artfully blending the multidudinous ways in which the "changing same" that characterizes so much of African-matrixed forms of art. Much of the album involves not just fanciful plays on words, but fun with language (and languages) itself, a truly African Diaspora oriented notion. Another wonderful aspect of this music is its explicitly self-aware historicism and playful incorporation of a 1930's and 1940's big band jazz (New York style as well as Island style) aesthetic.
Many of the themes explored here were already in evidence with Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band, but they are taken to a new level in this work. Much of the credit for that goes to the musicians, particularly the legendary Winston Grennon, whose drumming is outstanding. Above all, August Darnell deserves beaucoup credit for assembling such top-notch talent.
Sometimes the critics are right. This is one such example.