Into a New Journey

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Although Ambiance was quite obscure -- even in its native Los Angeles -- the outfit had a lot of potential. One of Ambiance's creative triumphs was its fourth album, Into a New Journey, a modal gem that underscores leader Daoud Abubakar Balewa's passion for world music and finds him playing the berimbau (a Brazilian string instrument) and a variety of African percussion along with the alto and tenor sax and flute. Highlights of this rare LP range from the hypnotic title song (which combines a McCoy Tyner-ish modal vamp with African-influenced vocals) to soulful versions of Joe Henderson's "The Black Narcissus" and Chick Corea's "Windows." Vocalist Monife Balewa, who has an interesting, quasi-operatic delivery, is featured on the spiritual "Something Better" (a vocal duet with percussionist/singer Atiji Malomon) and Corea's "500 Miles High." Unfortunately, the long out of print Into a New Journey was never reissued on CD, so if, by some chance, you come across a copy, grab it at once.