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No one can escape falling prey to the bewitching charms of Jon Batiste's Hollywood Africans / JazzdaGama

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Jon Batiste has a new website which only lists his 2018 album Hollywood Africans in its "Music" link. But he was also prominent featured on The Music of John Lewis with Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis (Blue Engine Records, 2017) and of course he has others too including a remarkably avant-garde sounding one The Process (MOD Technologies, 2014) which he made with bassist Bill Laswell and drummer Chad Smith. Hollywood Africans is special not only because it has been co-produced by the ubiquitous T Bone Burnett who might seem most appropriately a sort of "Hollywood African" if ever there was a way to describe his tinseled status in music production today (along with Rick Rubin, of course).

One cannot escape the oblique sardonicism – perhaps even Thelonious Monkish – of the album title especially as its repertoire honours the deep roots that Mr Batiste has in the Blues and cultural topography of Jazz coming, as he does, from New Orleans. Nor can one escape falling prey to the bewitching charms of the stark, naked beauty of the music itself. Mr Batiste's pianism takes us unexpectedly into another world, one we seem to have perhaps either lost or forgotten in the pursuit of more glamourous and instantly gratifying music. At the same time, Mr Batiste offers us an enticing opportunity to open our minds to something wholly purer that the music that we otherwise seem to become accustomed to.

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