Vincent Nguini


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Symphony-Bantu isn't a jazz album per se, and the African pop-oriented album was hardly recorded with jazz purists in mind. But much of guitarist/singer Vincent Nguini's Afro-pop does contain jazz elements. On electric guitar, Nguini sometimes goes for an airy sound that brings to mind Pat Metheny, and the eclectic CD employs such jazzmen as baritone saxman Ronnie Cuber, trumpeter Chris Botti and the extremely influential tenor sax hero Michael Brecker. While the instrumental "Abana" could be described as jazz fusion, most of Nguini's music falls under the heading of Afro-pop. A variety of influences can be heard on Symphony-Bantu -- everyone from Metheny and Weather Report to Nigerian innovator Fela Anikulapo-Kuti comes to mind, and Nguini's songs indicate that he has also listened to his share of R&B, Black gospel and Caribbean music. Not everything on the album is successful, but on the whole, Symphony-Bantu makes for enjoyable, unpredictable listening.

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