Cedric Brooks / Cheryl Brooks / The Divine Light

From Mento to Reggae to Third World Music

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One doesn't run across many albums like Cedric Brooks' From Mento to Reggae to Third World Music. It's almost impossible to even know what to call it, since this is fusion music in the truest sense, merging a stew of rhythms and styles, from mento and nyahbinghi to reggae, ska, and Afro-beat, all done with the immediate looseness of a New Orleans street band transported to the heart of Kingston, Jamaica and turned loose to soak up every musical nuance in sight, including a big dose of Caribbean jazz. With Brooks and his tenor sax honking away, and his Divine Light Band providing amazing, ever-changing kitchen sink rhythms behind him, this is what Sun Ra might sound like if he was trying to make a good living playing music on a Jamaican cruise ship. It's all pretty spirited, and maybe even a little demented, too, with tracks like "Nobody's Business," the raucous "Hop Merry Hop" and a version of Justin Hinds' "Carry Go Bring Come" all managing to sound somehow familiar and soothing while still being off the wall, insistent, frenzied, discordant and utterly infectious. This is dance music from a Jamaican planet where all traditions merge and everything happens all at once, and it's simply delightful.

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