Saturday, March 30, 2013

Lorraine Klaasen A Tribute To Miriam Makeba Justin Time 2013

 @Critical Jazz has gone global but that is hardly "cutting edge." Stan Getz becoming immersed in Brazilian samba or the great Dexter Gordon's work while in France has allowed a musical art form to not only reinvent itself but grow and develop into a multitude of hybrids that were unimaginable fifty years earlier.

The Soweto-Born vocalist Lorraine Klassen pays fitting tribute to "Mama Africa" on another recently released gem from Justin Time Records. Along with a touching tribute to her family we find a more than fitting tribute to her close family friend Miriam Makeba. Klaasen's major regret with this special recording is that it took place after the passing of Makeba but make no mistake that somewhere Miriam Makeba is smiling and her pride in the talent and sincerity of Klaasen has grown exponentially. Far more than what one stereotype as "world music" A Tribute To Miriam Makeba received a nomination for the prestigious Juno award or Canadian Grammy for those not acquainted with such artistic distinction.

Klaasen continues to promote and educate her friends and fans alike through the trademark Soweto sound that is somewhere between what western listeners might call early beatnik to the rich harmonious and rhythmic intensity often associated with similar forms of world music. Jazz has gone global. The amazing voice of Klaasen rings true including the popular "Click Song" involving a vocal technique many have attempted and few have mastered. "Jolinkkomo" is an infectious dance number and the dramatic if not melancholy "Imbizo" prove you can not judge a book by its cover. Stereotyping any form of music especially world music with tremendous jazz tendencies is wrong on more levels than I have time to print. Variety is the key to what makes A Trobute To Miriam Makeba work.

Initially the release may sound "strange" as it literally dances around the form and function of the music here in the west we refer to as jazz. If you begin to try and sonically deconstruct the music you will hear the harmonies, the rhythms, the vocal techniques all mentioned before and the reasoning a Juno award nomination was in the offing. A Tribute to Miriam Makeba has a slightly smaller ensemble solidifying the sonic truth less is more.

4.5 Stars

Personnel: Lorraine Klaasen: vocals; Assane Seck: acoustic guitar, backing vocals; Sebastian Andre Whiteman: bass, backing vocals; Moise Yawo Matey: percussion, conga, backing vocals.

Tracks: Click Song; Jolinkomo; Medley: Jikele Maweni & Intoyam; Kudala Ndikulindie; Lakutshon Ilanga; Mina Nawe; Pata Pata; Imbizo; Unomeva; Iphindlela