Balanco (2AM Productions DS7501, 2008)
Born in Mozambique and presently based in Denmark, drummer/vocalist/bassist/guitarist/pianist Deodato Siquir has made a solid and enjoyable African jazz CD here. At times his breezy style is similar to that of Cameroon’s Richard Bona- light, accessible, full of catchy riffs, pleasant vocals and expertly played solos.
Siquir’s also got a knack for tossing in contemporary touches like samples and turntable manipulation without messing up a largely organic approach favoring honest music over trickery.
The title track sports a buoyant Latin feel with great horn interplay, “Grito” laments the state of the environment via the spoken word and elsewhere the disc borrows from several African styles (including Zimbabwean chimurenga, Senegalese m’balax and the marrabenta of Siquir’s own land) to create relaxed fusions that are more about warmth than fire.
It all might come across as too much on the smooth jazz side for hardened African music fans, but repeated listening reveals further pleasures and nuances that are more than enough to make this disc one to keep and savor.
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