Mei Tei Sho Dance & Reflexion

It’s a shame that one of the better bands in the world have gone their separate ways since this live recording from late 2005. The band will continue with new membership, but Danse & Reflexion closes the chapter on their incredibly powerful Afro/rock/jazz/Balkan/dub maelstrom. Where so many cross cultural experiments are undertaken with a sense of balance to all the elements, Mei Tei Sho contained the trump card of Jean Gomis’ charismatic, raging vocals. Almost none of the songs here are a straightforward 4/4 beat, and the very active dub mix from the soundboard further amplifies the polyrhythms. Gomis inhabits the group’s forceful political and cultural stances, singing, screaming and rapping in English, French and Wolof. The jazz is brought by drummer Germain Samba and soprano sax player Eric Prost, who comes close to over-sweetening the mix with an instrument that has been an emblem of smooth jazz in recent decades, but instead provides much welcomed melodic invention. This disc gets better as it goes along — it rocks harder, the dub effects are more involved and the crowd is even more receptive, transforming most of the tracks from their previous album Lo Ba into stirring anthems. The final track, the 13-minute workout "Ghetto Youth” is a tour de force that gradually dissolves into a sax and guitar loop duel. I hope all members of this band go from strength to strength with their next projects. (Jarring Effects)