[10 July 2007]
With touches of blues, jazz, hip-hop and experimental electronica, Juba Dance has created a genre of its own while stylistically responding to leader Benjamin Lamar’s historical background. A current resident of Rio de Janeiro, Lamar grew up on the south side of Chicago, and a variety of both cities’ cultural and musical incantations heavily influence these thirteen songs. The downtempo horn-filled jazz of “Fisherman’s Jig” picks up on Chicago’s musical heritage while playing with steady Brazilian instrumentals and hand-drum rhythms. “Double Dutch Hymns”, as the title suggests, responds to an urban childhood with dueling spoken-word over minimal beats. Producer Polyphonic the Verbose synthesizes the tracks with atmospheric backgrounds reminiscent of Vikter Duplaix in tracks like “Union Hall” and “Cachaca”. Overall, Orange showcases Lamar’s tremendous skills as a musician; to shift stylistically with each track requires a rare depth of musical talent. Still, as a whole, the album lacks a cohesion to tie the diverse styles together perfectly.
Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/juba-dance-orange/