South African pianist, fine singer, songwriter and producer Bokani Dyer impressed on the same issuing label Brownswood's Indaba Is a couple of years ago. Beginning with a kind of choral chant on 'Be Where You Are' imploring us not to fight with the moment followed by the buoyant Rhodesy-trumpet mellifluousness - the horn line recalling Bra Hugh - on 'Mogaetsho' soars into a joyous swell of voice and blur of instruments, the sonics are very bright and beautifully captured.
'Move On' has a dancey elegance to it, with blinding bass work, chattering drumming and a fine vocal the lyrics advising acceptance and letting setbacks go. Damani Nkosi features on 'State of the Nation' with a speech like piece of spoken word wisdom the keyboard accompaniment diving into a minor key. 'Ke Nako' which was on Indaba Is features again.
Highlights - there are so many - include the incredibly soulful moving vocal from Yonela Mnana on 'Ho Tla Loka' (the title from the southern sotho language meaning 'It Will Be Alright'); then Dokani's own Gregory Porter-like and calibre vocal on the socially conscious 'Victims of Circumstance'; then too 'Amogelang' where the break out horns under the vocal add a period almost Dudu Pukwana-type feel; the beautiful 'You Are Home' where the horn sound recalls Freddie Hubbard and there is a lovely swung slow sense of time; and ultimately 'Medu' enters a very special space when the Abdullah Ibrahim universe is reached with a goose bumps inducing melody at the beginning. Dyer contributes so many facets of his musical personality here and the amalgam of American jazz and South African sounds is a winning fusion that does not sound at all forced together. Bokani Dyer, photo: Raees Hassan
- review: Stephen Graham