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Radio Free Soul by Dawan Muhammad

One of the beautiful things about jazz is when it brings world music to our ears. For example Sun Ra, Taj Mahal, and Weather Report are known to have done this extensively in the past.


Yeah I know, some people say that nothing good came out of the seventies. However, there were some nuggets such as Wayne Shorter's solo's and Ron Carter's Goin Home that say otherwise.

From that era (1976-79), comes this masterful remix by the increasingly appreciated Dawan Muhammad. If you haven't read Dawan's story on the inside cover, it really helps in understanding his musical concepts.

Dawan is a spiritual fellow who is not afraid to give credit to others including Allah, for his good fortune. Trust your ears to the following:

Universal Signs My pick of the album leads off with smooth straight-ahead quintet jazz. The pianist adds traces of Ahmad Jamal-style flavorings.Tropicalia A two for one kind of samba. Chuck Mangione was sometimes known to start songs like this, but they too often became redundant. Not so in this case.Anxiety Wonderful bass soloing that is reminiscent of Jaco Pastorius. The electric piano paints background eight and sixteen notes while Dawan offers up straight from the heart soprano statements. Sabonovich's lively percussion effects punctuate the final chorus.

Is That You? A beautifully sung ballad by Delores Pierce in the style of Dionne Warwick. This is a bonus track that ends much too soon.

Front Street A visit to downtown Santa Cruz via harmelodic horns. Included is a surprisingly tight rhythm section, and smooth guitar soloing that brings everything but coastal aromas into your speakers.Taumbu Not so much free jazz as it is a marriage of flute with percussion. Eastwind The lush jazz chamber effects appear effortlessly from the winds and strings.Cocoon Although not easily accessible, this piece is obviously Ornette inspired avant garde. Dawan approaches Mingus, or even Cecil Taylor in his complexity of this arrangement. Perhaps 'Caravan' would be a better title.Deep Stream Ms. Pierce returns to vocalize on this deeply stream-of-consciousness work. A showcase of talent includes; Paul Nagel on keys, with Dawan and Jimmy Johnson on flutes.

Dan'Zon De Santa Cruz Dawan Muhammad performs live to close the album. Amazingly the score was sight-read by the musicians without any rehearsal. A well-performed concert conducted by Dr. Lewis Keizer.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Dawan Muhammad
  • CD Title: Radio Free Soul
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2001
  • Reissue Original Release: 1979
  • Record Label: Lifeforce Records
  • Tracks: Universal Signs, Tropicalia, Anxiety, Is That You?, Front Street, Taumbu, East Wind, Cocoon, Deep Stream, Danzon de Santa Cruz
  • Rating: Four Stars
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