Various Artists

Jit Jive: Zimbabwean Street Party

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Billed as a Zimbabwean street party, there's certainly plenty of bounce and pep to Jit Jive: Zimbabwean Street Party, where the jit varies from music based around the mbria, or thumb piano, with plenty of electric backing, to styles resembling South African mbaqanga. Either way there's a flow to it, or at least to the first six tracks. Once you get to Don Gumbo's gospel-inflected "Thank You Lord" you hit a slightly sticky patch. It simply seems out of place among the profane work that's gone before. Then Chiwoniso come up with Zimbabwean R&B (lovely mbira in the background). The kicker though, comes with Louis Mhlanga's "What Happened to Love?" which sounds as if someone's been listening to too much classic George Benson smooth jazz, and it sticks out like a sore thumb before things return to normal programming with Tanga Sando. But many of the big names of Zimbabwean music are here -- Thomas Mapfumo, Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi, Andy Brown, and others -- making it a good primer of the country's pop sounds. If you can get past the three oddities, it's good; otherwise, it's hard to give this a complete recommendation.

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