Various Artists - Putumayo Presents Jazz Around The World
There can't be a more literal title in the Putumayo catalog. Jazz Around The World is literally a presentation of various jazz stylings from around the world, though without the usual solid context that Putumayo is known for in its collections. While most of the tracks chosen are solid-and some relvelatory-there is an arbitrary feel to it as well. I guess there would have to be: with the whole world available for inclusion, how do you choose?
Some familiar names are here, like Billy Cobham, Kora Jazz Trio, Quebecois cabaret singer Chantal Chamberland. For the most part the set focuses on Latin and Adro-Cuban rhythms, which have been a vital part of world music, and often some of the best music period, of the last fortry years, the styles have always had an awkward releationship to jazz, however, at least American jazz, which has tended to water those genres down into either a tepid fusion or Supper Club exotica. That problem is present here; even when the music presented is by artists from those regions, the choices of tracks feel safe.
Thus, It is the noir jazz Mexican quartet Sherele's "Polka Dot Blues," the uptempo acoustic ballad "Donalina" by Cameroonian singer Blick Bassy, and Chamberland's take on "La Mer" that really stand out. In all, though, Putumayo usually maintains its beautiful ear for finding both good music and causes to donate its sales to. "Putumayo Presents Jazz Around The World" is not their best offering, but it has some big bright spots that are easy to spot and savor.
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