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Modern Answers to Old Problems

Release Date: June 18, 2015
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Fela-style African worldbeat and retro R&B

Jamaican ska and jazz guitarist Ernest Ranglin mixes Fela-style African worldbeat and retro R&B on this well-produced album. Ranglin‘s clean, unadorned guitar sound blends vividly with the dance feels of tracks like “Outernational Incident,” “Kunene,” and “Swaziland.” The rock-solid rhythm section — bassist Orefo Orakwue and drummer Tony Allen — makes every track move and groove organically, with additional help from percussionists Olalekan Babalola and Olakunle Ayanlowo. Joe Bashorun‘s Wurlitzer and organ and Denys Baptiste’s tenor sax are indispensable elements of this hip, accessible sound.

Vocalist Sylvia Tella co-composed five of the tracks and makes memorable appearances on each of them. British firebrand saxophonist Courtney Pine guests on the jazz samba “Inflight,” but is a tad too low in the mix.