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World Music CD Reviews Africa

ERNEST DAWKINS’ NEW HORIZONS ENSEMBLE

By ROBERT KAYE
Published May 5, 2006

Cape Town Shuffle: Live At Hothouse
Denmark

On this unadorned, live-in-concert release, Ernest Dawkins and his septet carouse through various genres created by the African diaspora. Debuting this material in a Chicago nightclub, the band charts through straight-ahead jazz to Afro-Caribbean to Chicago’s South Side to New Orleans marches to South African ancestral grooves. The four compositions (all topping 14 minutes) make this a series of Afro-jazz-influenced tone poems. What you won’t find are gigabytes of gee-whiz world beat samples, snappy little pop tunes featuring an international vocalist or itinerant ethnic instruments atop the mix. Instead, Dawkins and bandmates, with ostensible skill and frolic, traverse through compelling jazz-infused music created by Africans in their new “homelands.” Nonetheless, like other live (especially jazz) recordings, the synergy frequent in concert doesn’t always translate to solitary home listening, giving way to minutes of redundancy and indulged solos. But guaranteed, throw this CD on at a party—or better yet, catch this group live—and ready yourself to be moved.