Putumayo World Party (Putumayo PUT 263-2, 2007)
The various-artist collections from the prolific Putumayo label can be built around the lightest of concepts, yet the music usually delivers through a combination of the familiar and the unexpected. Take a look at the artists on Putumayo World Party: You know you’re going to get crisp Afropop from Osibisa, superior roots reggae from Burning Spear and rollicking zydeco from Beau Jocque. It’s the lesser known names that are going to have to prove they can put a spring in your step.
The Latin-laced ska of Italy’s Roy Paci and Aretuska does so from the very start, followed in short order by a steamy slice of French Caribbean zouk courtesy of Kassav’ founder Jean-Philippe Marthely.
Denmark’s Laid Back employs a techno/island feel that’s a bit stiff, but everything after that nails the mark, including salsa Benin-style by Laurent Hounsavi, Orchestre Tropicana D’Haiti doing the sort of classic compas they’ve excelled at for years and Sarazino, whose multicultural backgrounds befit their dance floor fusion of funk, Latin and hip hop inflections.
So is every sort of "party " music from around the world included? Not nearly, and it doesn’t much matter. This is a perfect disc for those times (and we all have ’em), when you want to hear something that grooves but you’re not sure what. Even if your party is a party of one, you’re covered.