Like several of the other songs on Karibu,
the groove on this one is very familiar. Both Biolcati and Loueke open with a unison line over a funky beat by Nemeth. The song slows a bit but goes right back into the feeling heard at the beginning. Loueke's vocals are a nice departure for me, since I like hearing the acoustic guitar matched with vocals as opposed the George Benson style with electric. This song might lose some people, as the solo section is a little slower than the A section, but it still captures Loueke's genius.
What happens when the music of Western Africa meets Herbie Hancock? The result is the song "Seven Teens." This is a perfect platform for Hancock, who dazzles and hypnotizes with his use of diminished overtones and chromatic lines. Most of the song is given to him, although Loueke plays an excellent solo with his added vocal style of singing the solo. It's not a surprise that Hancock and Loueke work so well together, as the magic heard on this track is also heard on Hancock's River: The Joni Letters
, in which both musicians exchange ideas with familiarity and extreme clarity.
Since arriving in the United States from his native Benin, in Western Africa, guitarist Lionel Loueke has blazed onto the jazz scene with a spark unseen from a foreign musician in some time. On his Blue Note debut, Karibu
, he and his band groove through the title track with ease. Drummer Ferenc Nemeth provides an excellent backdrop for Loueke's vocals and guitar solo when the swing section starts. This album might have been the start for Loueke in the USA, but he is someone the jazz community will be listening to for years to come.
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