Space Jungle Luv


aec.eirs19754.1 2/16/18 New
ID: aec.eirs19754.1


    Space Jungle Luv 8th Records

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Review Text The message was enormously positive on the debut Oneness of Juju record, and for the follow-up, bandleader Plunky Branch developed a lighter, more free sound to parallel the consciousness-raising themes. Make no mistake: the group plays just as tight as on African Rhythms, but here the emphasis is on creating an atmosphere instead of approximating a religious ritual. As on the first record, the opener is the hands-down highlight; Plunky latches onto a short, playful theme, stretches it out into a vibrant solo, and returns to it often over the course of eight minutes (even switching from tenor to alto after a few minutes). Pianist Joe Bonner also contributes a solid solo, and vocalist Eka-Ete Jackie Lewis sounds powerful but very calm and controlled, wordlessly vocalizing her own solo underneath Bonner and Plunky. Quieter numbers like "Soul Love Now" and "Love's Messenger" rely more on exploratory percussion than a steady rock backbeat, but "Space Jungle Funk" and "Got to Be Right on It" are two of the heaviest tracks the band had cut up to that point. As on the first, great playing from a tuned-in band carries the day over an occasional lack of innovation or imagination. [The 2002 reissue on Strut added the previously unreleased track "F#" to the program.] ~ John Bush

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