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On Ka'a Davis with Famous Original Djuke Music Players
Seeds of Djuke
LiveWired Music (www.livewiredmusic.org)

I can not give any clear definition of what "Djuke" means, but the music is pretty good, if more than a bit meandering at times. In addition to producer, writer, leader, guitarist, vocalist and percussionist, Davis is credited with "e.s.p." in the fine print. Indeed, it seems like a lot of this stuff flies on instinct rather than rigidly mapped out strategies, resulting in some fine listening along with, unfortunately, some sloppy stretches that sound more like musicians tuning up than musicians making music. There's a sparse Afrobeat feel in the relentlessly riffing guitars, street corner percussion and unrefined vocals that characterize a few of the tracks. But jazz territory is visited as well, in the form of odd time signatures and tricky passages where the players maintain an admirable level of tightness through slippery, open-ended arrangements and a high level of unpredictability in the production and instrumentation departments. Once the closing "Stars At On" rolls out its combination of Gnawa-like circular rhythms and muttered spiritual pronouncements, there's been a lot of musical ground covered and more than a few global inspirations drawn upon. The main problem is that the album (all 74 minutes of it) seems to lose rather than gain focus as it progresses, relying on an increasingly quirky approach where a more cohesively musical one would probably have served the material better. - Tom Orr

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