New Destiny - Jump for George
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Dallam-Dougou
New Destiny
Imaginary Homeland
Jump for George
Both titles Jumbie Records (www.jumbierecords.com)

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Two American ensembles have recently released their first recordings on a label in New York. Both share a sense of place unique to a large city, with musicians from diverse backgrounds who come together to create a new regional music from a non-existent region. Dallam-Dougou get their name from the Hungarian word for melody and a common western African term for land or place. New Destiny merges eastern European strings and reeds with African balafon and percussion in a highly successful convergence of ideas and attitudes from musicians who may come from different parts of the world (with names like Diabate, Lichtenstein, Magyar, Kennedy, Algire, Rothblatt and Sylla) but who create a musical Esperanto that makes a Romanian folk song seem like a natural extension of an old Mande rhythm. The transitions from Bach to balla and Transylvania to Timbuktu are seamless, smart and ultimately, obvious.

cd cover The creators of Jump for George are even more obvious in their choice of moniker. Imaginary Homeland brings together African xylophone, percussion and talking drums with New York jazz and Appalachian fiddle in another seemingly impossible fusion. But from the opening strains of "Kanawha Girl" they had me hooked. Here is an old-timey fiddle tune, the melody doubled on saxophone, given a wide open swing by the acoustic bass, water-drum, frame drum and body percussion. It moves from the straight traditional tune to rolling improvisations worthy of the best jazz ensembles. With praises to a dozen genres and fealty to none, this quartet is creating an original vocabulary that endorses both jazz and folk as equal partners in their own musical nation. - Cliff Furnald

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