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World Music CD Reviews Africa

GILLES PETERSON

By Paul-Emile Comeau
Published August 27, 2005

In Africa
Ether

Although not yet a household name in North America, Gilles Peterson is a well-known acid jazz pioneer and an influential radio personality whose shows on Radio London and BBC’s Radio 1 (among others) have had an impact around the world. Having been successful with Gilles Peterson in Brazil, his new two-CD digipak, one with minimal annotation, takes aim at Africa. Disc one, called The Soul, retrieves some obscure performances of the ’60s and ’70s, half of which are by famous names such as Manu Dibango, Miriam Makeba, Fela Kuti and Abdullah Ibrahim. Rather than highlight African music that’s replete with mbiras and djembes, Peterson immerses the listener in jazz, funk and fusion. The second CD, called The Spirit, puts the focus on remixes such as Masters of Work with Wunmi paying tribute to Fela, Thieverey (sic) Corporation with David Byrne (“The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter”), and a Carl Craig remix of Cesaria Evora ( “Angola”). The serendipity factor is one of the qualities that Peterson brings to his projects and that sense of exploration is also this album’s strong suit.