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Kenneth Nash

Mama Blue Shoes

Review by Gary Hill

Combining world music with jazz and even a little rock, this album is an entertaining one. At times it occupies a space quite close to the sound of Spyro Gyra. This is quite cool.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 5 at

Track by Track Review
This opening cut is short. It features keyboards and symphonic elements that serve as the backdrop for the vocals.
Reaching Out

There’s a definite Latin and world music sound in place here. Other instrumentation brings a jazz kind of vibe to the table. The vocals and other elements keep a lot of world music in the mix as they take things through a number of changes and alterations.

There’s a bit of cool funk on display here as they take things along a tasty fusion groove.
Mama Blue Shoes
We still get a lot of jazz here, but it’s more rock oriented. The vocals are spoken on this piece.
Dream Time
A tasty jazz meets world music motif serves as the backdrop for sparse, non-lyrical vocals.
Power of Love
This smooth jazz tune calls to mind Spyro Gyra.
There’s a killer funk groove to this and some looped, repeating musical elements. This is a fun one. The violin later brings it into territory akin to Jean-Luc Ponty.
We get some funk on hand here, but this is another that’s not that far removed from something like Spyro Gyra. There’s a tasty acoustic guitar solo to be heard.
Berber Street
There’s a lot of world music built into this beast.
Fusion with a lot of funk built in makes up this number. The bass line is just plain awesome. African vocals come in later as this moves out towards more purely world oriented music.
Mr. Agu
Tribal drumming and other elements land this one firmly inside the world music heading.
Here’s another with a lot of world music in the arrangement. Still there are some rather symphonic bits that bring an almost progressive rock texture to the table and there are definitely plenty of fusion sounds.
The Gift
Here’s a slow moving and mellow cut with a lot of jazz in place. The world music elements aren’t completely exorcised, but they are certainly less prevalent than on other pieces here.
This one is percussive and seriously world music oriented.
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