Hugh Masekela
Black to the Future
Shanachie (

Legendary South African jazzman Hugh Masekela has been playing brass professionally for over 40 years, and sends us into Y2K with a set featuring his smooth flugel horn work set mostly to breezy pop compositions.

The first half of the album consists of bright but uninspired R&B numbers heavy on synthetic beats, but the second half heats up. "Khawuleza," for example, builds on a lively mbaqanga rhythm, and "Nina" takes a bow to the Mandingue music of West Africa. The instrumental "Excuse Me Baby Please!" gives us the most of what Hugh excels at - smart, brassy compositions that are also quite danceable. - Craig Tower

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