It's been eight years since the last Ky-Mani Marley album, and with the release of Maestro, it's harder than ever to introduce the veteran artist as merely "the son of Bob Marley." He certainly shares his father's soul, sensibilities, and in the case of the whirling reggae dervish called "Fancy Things," he shares Dad's swagger, but in those eight years Ky-Mani has grown into a wiser and stronger performer, so tagging him as junior seems short of the mark. The great Maestro actually brings Ky-Mani more in line with brother Damian as the production on "Get High" (electro and Euro-flavored dancehall), "Champagne Dreams" (Rihanna-styled post-disco), and "All the Way" (polished R&B) point to a versatile artist on the edge of pop. Brother Damian, Matisyahu, Gentleman, and Gramps Morgan fill the excellent effort's guest list.
by David Jeffries