Hugh Masekela 


Born in 1939, trumpeter (and occasional singer) Hugh Masekela has long been a prime mover of world fusion, blending jazz and pop with the traditional and urban sounds of his native South Africa. He had a massive international instrumental hit with '68's "Grazing in the Grass," going on to play with Paul Simon, Herb Alpert, and Afrobeat icon Fela Kuti. (Also, that's him on the Byrds' "So You Want to Be a Rock & Roll Star.") Revival, his first album in three years, finds him applying his bittersweet horn and appealingly rough-hewn vocals to a mixture of smooth jazz and sparkling Afro-pop with, alas, rather uneven results. There are "Sleep" and "Nontsokolo," both abounding with gospel-inspired South African township harmonies and infectious, buoyant grooves, but there is also the instrumental "Fresh Air," virtually indistinguishable from most Fuzak of Quiet Storm radio were it not for the Miles Davis-like elegance of Masekela's muted horn. Unless you're equally a fan of smooth jazz and African music, Revival will make you grateful for your sound-system's "program" function.


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