Benjamin Boone with the Ghana Jazz Collective

Joy

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Dr. Debra Jan Bibel, Amazon

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Benjamin Boone, saxophonist and composer, is also a Ph.D. scholar. He previously released the two distinguished musical volumes of The Poetry of Jazz, and as a Fulbright Senior Specialist Fellow he has traveled to Moldova, Ethiopia, and most recently Ghana for study and music exchange. While in Accra, Ghana, he was astonished to hear mainstream American jazz but with West African tinge. In this album, The Ghana Jazz Collective — a quartet of tenor saxophone, electric bass, drums, and keyboards — joins Boone's alto and soprano, along with vocalist Sandra Huson in performance of his compositions with arrangements by himself and keyboardist Victor Dey, Jr., who grew up in the UK with his Ghanaian diplomat father and trained at the Berklee College of Music. The Ghananian saxophonist Bernard Aysia studied with Darius Brubeck and Dustan Cox. Three tracks are by other artists: Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage, with hard-hitting drum beats to enhance the dance so integral within Ghanaian music; Curtain of Light by Jonovan Cooper, arranged in the Ethiopian scale of tezeta; and Gerry Niewood's Joy, a welcoming sound destined for radio play. The lead, multi-emotional piece, The Intracacies of Alice, refers to Boone's wife and includes three grooves and two meters. Slam, of alternating 5/4 and 6/4 meter, involves arresting two-sax noir chords and vocalise evoking an intense scene of strife or ritual. The venue and tune of The 233 Jazz Bar is named for the nation's area code; it is full electric funk, and Boone's sax screams and soars. Next is Boone's torch ballad Without You sung with R&B gospel influence. This album is not world or ethnic jazz but diverse Western jazz with a cosmopolitan outlook. Boone continues to build bridges and we enjoy the walk across.








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