Mother Rhythm

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Even if we don't understand what Cameroon-born bassist Andre Manga and the vocalists in his band Dumazz are singing about, it's an easy bet to say the main theme of their global music feast Mother Rhythm is big-time joy. Featuring supporting performers from India, Europe, Brazil, and the U.S., Dumazz capitalizes on the still popular African rhythms-meets-jazz craze, mixing textures of blues organ, electronic hip-hop, gypsy guitar (provided by Marc Antoine on the urban flavored shuffle "Just Between Us"), horn sections, female choirs, and the ever present saxes of group member Bobby English and guest saxman Andy Suzuki (late of Kilauea). Another guest, Michael "Patches" Stewart, sounds the staccato trumpet on the appropriately titled "Dreamin' Miles," teaming up with a horn section, then going solo, bouncing back and forth off a hypnotic polyrhythmic percussion pattern. Somehow on most tunes, Manga himself informs the crew who their leader is, carrying enough melodies with his low bass tones and soloing off the horn or keyboard melodies wherever he likes. His low register vocals and scat are interesting too -- especially when he hiccups in duet with his bass on the opening track "Makossa Danger." The only danger with Dumazz is partying on too long -- and that never hurt the openminded world music fan, did it?

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