New Reviews: July 4, 2001

Let The People Decide Jerri Jheto
Absolute Records

Silver & Gold
Jerri Jheto
Kadara Records

Nigerian reggae musician Jerri Jheto continues his message of hope, freedom and Christianity to the people of Africa and beyond, through catchy, yet simple songs. Jerri's musical styles are undoubtedly drawn from Afro-Caribbean musical traditions. The jazzy reggae/rai beats, beautiful background vocal harmonies and catchy melodies meld to form an interesting and refreshing musical combination. Saxophones, drums, guitars, keyboards and trumpets are key instruments used in Jerri's music. Let The People Decide and Silver & Gold are two albums that are highly recommended for reggae music fans.

Put Your Hand On Your Hip, And Let Your Backbone Slip
Bessie Jones

Bessie Jones was the premier folk singer of the Georgia Sea Islands in the early to middle 1900's. Put Your Hand On Your Hip is a collection of folk, gospel and children's songs recorded in the early 1970's on St. Simon's Island, off the coast of Georgia, USA. The more familiar songs recorded include "Yonder Come Day," "Amazing Grace," "Shoo Lie Loo," "Down In The Valley," "Hambone" and others. Bessie Jones' vocals are accompanied by several children and adult singers on most of the songs. Clapping often accompanies the songs. For the most part, instruments are absent. However, a tambourine is used on some of the songs. Overall, the recording appropriately reflects the gospel music of the Georgia Sea Islands. Fans of traditional vocal gospel music from the Southeastern United States will thoroughly enjoy the music of Bessie Jones and company.

Angel In The Dark
Laura Nyro

New York singer/songwriter and pianist Laura Nyro was a remarkable musician. Angel In The Dark, the final recording of Laura's career, includes tracks that were previously unreleased. Laura's musical styles ranged from folk to jazz to latin. Amazing pieces of music were composed utilizing a variety of instruments, including the guitar, bass, drums, trumpet, saxophone and percussion. The music has a soft, yet creative undertone. Catchy piano pieces and fluid arrangements make Angel In The Dark a necessary recording for long-time fans and anyone who enjoys folk and jazz music. Sadly, Laura succumbed to cancer in the spring of 1997.

Mama Mombala
Man D' Dappa

Man D' Dappa is an Afro fusion group from France. They combine Afro/Latin/Rai musical elements with African vocal stylings to create an addictive, yet creative mixture of contemporary fusion music. Traditional instruments including the balafon, djembe, conga and udu blend with contemporary bass, guitar and percussion that successfully completes their unique Afro fusion sound. Engaging female vocals are present on most of the tracks. Catchy tracks and incredible instrumentation make Mama Mombala a must-have recording for Afro fusion fans.

Reviews by Matthew J. Forss.