March 24, 2019
Dexter Story | Bahir
Dexter Story has worked all sides of the music business in his career: he’s done marketing and artist management, been a talent buyer and event producer, he’s produced and music-directed major events, and he’s a working musician as well. Story got interested in the music of East Africa a while back; his second solo album Wondem focused in this area, as did his follow-up single “Wejene Aola” with Kamasi Washington. Now he’s back with his third album, digging even deeper into Ethiopian, Sudanese and Somalian sounds. The disc is strong throughout, with plenty of variety and surprises. Highlights start with track 3, featuring singer-violinist Sudan Archives on a funky, riff-based approach to Sudanese pop. 4 sounds like golden-era Ethio-jazz, with an arrangement that could be by Mulatu Astatke and Haile Supreme’s vocal channeling Tilahun Gessesse. Among the instrumentals, my favorite is 5 which is clearly based on the Sudanese shaigiya music of Abu Obaida Hassan – Story gets this one exactly right. Also noteworthy is 9, placing an East African melody on a funk-soul base. An impressive album, solid and inspired from beginning to end.
TOP TRACKS: 3 4 5 9
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