Various Artists

African Guitar Kings

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Here's a poorly titled compilation. Rather than serving up some of the guitar-heavy sounds of soukous, highlife, or juju, what we get on African Guitar Kings is basically a series of smooth jazz tunes played by Africans. Vocals, when present, are often in English, and almost all the tunes feature production more suited to a Spyro Gyra album. The inclusion of a couple cuts is somewhat baffling: Sipho Gumede's track (he's a bass player) has saxophone as the dominant solo voice, and the Alvin Dyers track is mainly piano. African Guitar Kings, indeed. "Seven Days Ago" by Allen Kwela wouldn't be out of place on the Weather Channel. If you really were hoping for African Guitar Kings, look elsewhere. If you're looking for smooth jazz sounds that are a little off the beaten path, this one may fit the bill.

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