Jericho Down

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More often than not, artists who insist that their music is "beyond category" are simply hitting you with empty rhetoric. Their music really does fit into one category or another, but they won't tell you that because they're trying to trick you into believing that they're more eclectic and adventurous than they actually are. But Jericho Down really is extremely difficult to categorize. You can describe the CD as world music (which could be anything from Celtic jigs and reels to traditional Chinese music) or world beat; however you describe it, it's obvious that the Looters have an incredibly wide variety of influences. During the course of the album, they combine different types of world music (everything from Latin and Native American to African and Middle Eastern) with rock, soul, folk, and gospel. But the band never sounds confused or unfocused; the Looters have a distinctive, recognizable sound, and everything that they do sounds perfectly natural even if they are a marketing person's nightmare. Many marketing people would be terrified if they were called upon to promote this highly adventurous release, but from a creative standpoint, Jericho Down is easy to admire. One of the people who shines on this album is drummer Ahaguna G. Sun, who is best known for his association with Maze & Frankie Beverly and was also a member of an obscure late-1970s funk band called Sunbear. Naturally, people tend to place Sun in the R&B category, but on Jericho Down, soul and funk rhythms are only one piece of a very large puzzle. Marketing nightmare or not, this superb CD is enthusiastically recommended to anyone who appreciates a wide variety of music and has a strong sense of adventure.

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