Les Embassadors Healing The Music

Les Embassadors have produced one of the widest global collaborations in memory to achieve their sounds. Featuring members from New Zealand, South Africa, Peru, Kenya and Germany, Les Embassadors are a collection of highly educated musical types cobbling together down-tempo groove jazz for the 21st century. The only problem is that it comes off as terribly mature, studied music with little excitement. Saxophonist and group leader Hayden Chisholm has a serious Mulatu Astatque fixation, with several songs pivoting on a mellow Ethiopian jazz axis. Special guest vocalist Michel Ongaru from Kenya has a rich voice like Andy Bey or Paul Robeson, which, to be honest, has a tone and delivery I’ve never really cared for. Too often here the music is just too conservative and sleepy. When the intent is dubwise, as on "Jipe Moyo” and especially "Maisha Haya Kufa Kupona,” the effect is entrancing, with Nonplace main man and dub aficionado Burnt Friedman adding the right amount of non-linearity to the proceedings. (Nonplace)