South Africa, 1974, spiritual jazz / afro-jazz / jazz fusion

BatsumiBatsumi: What’s that traditional-sounding horn blowing at the beginning? That evocation certainly grabbed my attention, along with the disturbing, wordless vocals. The tribal, mantra-inducing percussion is juxtaposed nicely with saxophone and flute phrasings soaring high above. This gives way to more pleasant call-and-response vocals and more melodious flutes. Overall a festive atmosphere pervades this album. What is it about so much music from the African continent that makes it bright, full of energy and happy (at least to my Western ears)? All that energy coalesces in the fourth track, what I would consider the centerpiece of the album. A fifteen-minute epic, this track unfolds its themes slowly and beautifully, and it’s like I’m listening to the crafting of a song.

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