IzangoMa, Ngo Ma, Brownswood ***1/2

Ngo Ma takeaways include incredible bluesy guitar soloing on 'Mgung u Ndlovu' and the electronic type production glean on the title track is energy laden and gritty with blissful horns coming though over the hill. Sprawling in places there is …

Published: 16 May 2023. Updated: 12 months.

Ngo Ma takeaways include incredible bluesy guitar soloing on 'Mgung u Ndlovu' and the electronic type production glean on the title track is energy laden and gritty with blissful horns coming though over the hill. Sprawling in places there is plenty of joy too and it's an introduction in places to a style called ''sgubhu,'' which is like house music. But who are IzangoMa?

They are a fifteen-piece from Pretoria in South Africa formed of players from Mozambique and South Africa that has singer and keyboardist Sibusile Xaba and drummer & synths player Ashley Kgabo core. The tribute to Johnny Dyani is an overt and grounding reminder of how much South African jazz still can be meaningful not only to South Africa but to fans far away in the UK particularly via the enduring discography of the Blue Notes. Out on 26 May. 'City Lights,' 'Ngo Ma,' 'Out Of The World' and 'Tribute to Johnny Dyani' are streaming ahead of release

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Avishai Cohen feat. Abraham Rodriguez Jr, Iroko, Naïve ***1/2

Fascinating rhythm: drum, bass, conga - chant along why not? Jazz bass icon Avishai Cohen teams up with conguero-vocalist Abraham Rodriguez Jr to pay tribute to the Yoruba deities - an Iroko is a tree living troll. A beat feat and tumble of …

Published: 16 May 2023. Updated: 12 months.

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Fascinating rhythm: drum, bass, conga - chant along why not? Jazz bass icon Avishai Cohen teams up with conguero-vocalist Abraham Rodriguez Jr to pay tribute to the Yoruba deities - an Iroko is a tree living troll.

A beat feat and tumble of infectious rhythm it turns out to be pretty good overall although less compelling is the belt it out take on 'Fly Me To The Moon'. More positively the approach certainly works better on James Brown classic 'It's A Man's Man's Man's World'. Cohen is one of the world's best jazz bassists. Fact. And so anything he does is interesting and this is no different given there is no diminution in the quality of his work and the variety the Israeli keeps coming up with. Here the latin departure suits Cohen well given his long interest in the area. Hernacio “El Negro” Hernandez, trumpeter Diego Urcola, saxophonist Yosvany Terry, percussionist Jose Angel and Spanish singer Virginia Alves are some of the ace players also involved. It is also, a factor that enhances the enjoyment, fabulously sound engineered.

Avishai Cohen, top left, and Abraham Rodriguez Jr, photo: via Stilletto

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