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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Duende Libre

The Dance She Spoke

Review by Gary Hill

This act is definitely not progressive rock. However, they play a form of fusion that is often heavily informed by world music. That is a "progressive" concept in itself, but even if it weren't, we usually include fusion under prog. There are some instrumentals on the set, but only one song has lyrics in English. The others are based on music from Mali and the Republic of Guinea and their lyrics are in their native languages. However you label this, it's an interesting ride.

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Track by Track Review
Hush (Dawn)
Percussion and piano bring this into being. The cut works out from there to a killer fusion jam that has a great groove and energy to it. They take it through a number of shifts and changes over the course of the tune. There is a percussion break built into this. The cut has some seriously powerhouse moments further down the road.
Fefo (Hamana)
There are vocals that have a world music feel to them on this. Those are not in English, The tune has some real fusion at the core of its musical structure. It also goes through some variants as it makes its way along the road.
Dansa (Khasso)
The world music meets fusion approach is on board with this tune, as well. If anything the world music concepts are more prevalent here. The tune has an emphasis on percussion and vocals early, but shifts out toward more pure jazz as it works through the first instrumental passage. As it goes back to a vocal section, the jazz remains at the forefront. The next instrumental excursion is a real powerhouse movement. That starts jazz-oriented, but then shifts to pure world music for a while before making its way back to the song proper.
N'gri (Wassoulou)

I dig the energy and groove of this number. The mix of traditional world sound with jazz is so cool. The vocal arrangement is one of the best of the disc. In fact, I'd consider this piece to be a highlight of the set. It just gels so well. The killer jazz jam that emerges late in the number is arguably the best musical passage of the set. They move that into a more pure world music segment as the number continues.

Echoes (Wassoulou)
While this is decidedly more pure fusion, there are still world music hints here. I love this piece. It's one of my favorites here. It works through some cool territory as it drives forward. There are intriguing changes, and it has plenty of smoking hot music at its core.
Mendiani (Hamana)
Opening more world music based, this thing still has some jazz textures. The vocals bring more of the world angle to it. This gets into some killer jazz jamming in a rather extended instrumental movement mid-track.
Lafe (Hamana)
World music and jazz merge well in this energized tune. It has some particularly fun musical passages.
You Gotta Go
The lyrics to this one are in English. This has a healthy helping of funk and reggae built into it. This is another of my favorites here. I really dig the rather bluesy jam later in the tune.
Hush (Twilight)
With much more of a pure jazz dynamic driving it, this is a classy tune. As a continuation of the opening piece, this instrumental makes a great bookend for the album. There is a percussion workout late in the piece.


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