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Textures and sub plots on Somi's - Petite Afrique / Jazz Weekly review

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This is Somi's fifth release, and it follows the fabulous "The Lagos Music Salon" which depicted thoughts on the African Diaspora. This one is even stronger, continuing on the same theme, but with more textures and sub plots. Her voice has an incredible wide range of depth, sometimes going almost sub toned like a luscious Sarah Vaughan, or folksy and rural a la Cassandra Wilson.

As far as the themes relate, Somi touches on the rarely discussed life of the aging a of Harlem on the clever "The Gentry" along with vocalist Aloe Blacc and a horn section including Jaleel Shaw/as, Marcus Strickland/ts and Etienne Charles/tp. Also intriguing is her reflections of being an African in "Afro-American" New  York on "Black Enough" and "Alien." The moods mix from modern jazz to rich strings with exotic dashes as on "Kadiatou the Beautiful" while "They're Like Ghosts" tells a tale of love and worlds colliding. Voice and programming make up a couple tunes such as "The Wild One" and "Disappearing Act" making the album almost feel like an audible play being acted out. Fascinating!

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