a review of cool new music
by Jeff Pinzino
! Zap Mama – Supermoon (world)
The veteran vocal ensemble’s harmonies sparkle over a global groove. Their mash-up of African, European, and American influences is weighted on this album toward R&B stylings. Brightly colored with a broad palette of boogie-friendly sounds.
* Bruce Hornsby, Christian McBride, Jack DeJohnette – Camp Meeting (jazz)
Hornsby has dropped his adult contemporary persona and embraced his inner jazz geek. The trio cuts an intriguing set that ranges from the experimental to the romantic, and Hornsby’s improvisations are both more varied and more suited to a jazz context. A monster rhythm section helps him pull off brainbusters like “Giant Steps.”
* Simple Kid – 2 (rock)
Boy meets blues, boy loses blues for amplifiers, drum samples, and banjos, boy gets blues in the end. Simple Kid manages to present straightforward, compelling songs in a corona of shiny instrumental noise. Echoes of early Beck.
Public Enemy – How You Sell Soul to a Soulless People Who Sold Their Soul? (rap)
“The Black CNN” still makes music as relevant as today’s headlines. Chuck D skillfully untwists the commoditization of Black culture to a backbeat that quotes James Brown, AC/DC, and classic soul.
Cindy Combs – Sunny Rain (world)
Fingerstyle guitar work in the Hawaiian slack key style. Combs is an absolute master of the instrument, and her interpretations of tropical songs old and new are like chimes stirred by an island breeze.
* highly recommended
! highest recommendation