United Future Organization

Bon Voyage

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The marriage of jazz and electronica has, too often, produced bland and lackadaisical offspring. But the United Future Organization manages to bring together elements of both, along with traces of club music and "rare groove," and create something that is both elegant and rhythmically propulsive, not to mention structurally interesting. Their latest album is an excellent example of what they can do at their best. On "Tres Amigos" Cuban percussion, horns, and piano are goosed along by a thick, bouncy bassline; "Flying Saucer" blends disco rhythm guitar with jazzy horns and a gorgeous vocal courtesy of Dee Dee Bridgewater; "Dans Ce Desert" is a surprisingly funky 6/8 workout with flamenco castanets, electric piano, and French vocals. In less gifted hands, this sort of shameless mix-and-match could dissolve into mere cleverness or self-conscious eclecticism. But these guys keep tight control over their sources and play the various elements off each other so skillfully that the result is an impressively organic and unified whole. Highly recommended.

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