World Music Network has done quite a bit this year to take audiences into America’s rich musical history and culture. That is thanks to successful compilations that present rich histories of the blues, gospel, and even country music. Now as 2020 winds down, the label is presenting one more rich musical lesson in its brand new compilation, The Rough Guide to Cape Jazz. The eight-song record is a presentation that will appeal widely to jazz aficionados and world music fans alike. That is due in part to the compilation’s companion booklet, which will be discussed shortly. The songs that make up the record’s body build on the foundation formed by the record’s companion booklet and add to the record’s appeal. They will be discussed a little later. The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will be addressed later, too. Each item noted here is key in its own way to the whole of the compilation’s presentation. All things considered, the record proves itself an enjoyable way for World music Network to close out the year.
World Music Network’s latest compilation record The Rough Guide to Cape Jazz is a work that will appeal just as much to jazz lovers as much as it will to world music fans. That is thanks in part to the booklet that accompanies the record. More specifically, the liner notes featured in the booklet are to thank for its appeal. The notes lay the groundwork for the compilation, explaining the history behind Cape Jazz as a genre. The notes point out that “Cape Jazz” as a genre is relatively young, having really gotten its start in 1993. It is essentially popular folk and blues music paired with influences of the South Africa region of the African continent, according to the booklet’s featured liner notes. This is just part of what is pointed out in the booklet’s liner notes. The liner notes also the genre’s ties to South Africa’s own social and political culture, which adds even more interest to the genre’s story. Between that, everything else noted here and the remainder of the booklet’s information, the whole of the information more than shows its importance to the whole of the compilation’s presentation. It is just one part of what makes the compilation engaging and entertaining. The record’s featured songs add their own value to the record.
The songs that make up the body of The Rough Guide to Cape Jazz are of note because while the genre allegedly is said to pair with South African musical elements for its presentation, none of the songs featured here would seem to reflect that pairing of influences. Now ‘Liberation,’ which comes early in the 39-minute record’s run does seem to hint at the connection between the genre and region’s sociopolitical history and culture. The energy in the arrangement hints at the emotion perhaps felt by the people of the region when apartheid came to its end in the early 1990s. ‘The Dance of Our Fathers’ meanwhile bears quite the Westernized jazz sense a la Yellowjackets in its arrangement. At the same time, the relaxed vibe that the arrangement exudes presents a sense of happiness that, considering the song’s title, seemingly reflects the upbeat tribute to the region’s history. ‘Cape Joy’ come the closest of all of the compilation’s songs to featuring the noted combined South African and American jazz influences what with the use of the shakers, cowbell and other percussion. Yes, what people call Latin is in fact African at its roots, so to that end, audiences will hear that noted pairing of influences here. Between that and everything else noted here, along with the rest of the arrangements in all their presentation, the whole of the songs does plenty in their own right to make this record appealing. They still are collectively just one more aspect of the record’s presentation that deserves attention. The songs’ sequencing rounds out the compilation’s most important elements.
The sequencing of The Rough Guide to Cape Jazz is important to address especially because this record is a compilation. It ensures the record’s energy remains stable from the start to end of the nearly 40-minute record. The record’s first half maintains a catchy, upbeat vibe thanks to the sequencing. ‘Give A Little Love,’ the record’s midpoint breaks things up nicely as it slows things down noticeably. The record’s energy picks back up from there, but never goes over the top. The most energetic that the record gets from that point is in the funky ‘The Way It Used To Be,’ whose arrangement will appeal to fans of the likes of Weather Report. As the album closes in ‘Crossroads Crossroads,’ the record’s energy pulls back one more time, landing listeners on a separate show so gently while also leaving them fulfilled. Simply put, the record’s sequencing wholly ensures that its energy will keep listeners engaged and entertained just as much as the songs themselves and the information behind the songs. All things considered, the record completely ensures its success and that it succeeds just as much as the other records released by World Music Network this year.
World Music Network’s final new compilation for this year takes the company out on a high note. That is proven in part through the record’s companion booklet. The booklet’s liner notes set the groundwork for the record’s presentation. The songs that are featured in the record do their own part to entertain and engage audiences, as does the sequencing of those songs. Each noted item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of this recording. All things considered, they make the compilation a nice finale for World Music Network for 2020. In the process, it leaves listeners looking forward to the company’s new slate of compilations to come in 2021.
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