Olu Dara


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Neighborhoods Review

by Scott Yanow

Olu Dara used to be known as a melodic avant-garde cornetist, but in the 1990s he completely changed his musical identity, emerging as a singer and country blues guitarist. Strangely enough on this set, although he is pictured with a guitar, Dara does not play much guitar (other than on a couple solo pieces) and primarily focuses on singing, with his cornet making a few brief appearances. The music is mostly outside of jazz, more in the areas of pop, funk, reggae, and folk music. Unfortunately, the 11 performances (all but the traditional "Out on the Rolling Sea" are Dara originals) are not at all memorable, his singing is a bit mundane, and a guest spot for Cassandra Wilson on "Used to Be" is rather forgettable. The results are disappointing overall.

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