Global Noize | A Prayer for the Planet

Album Review: Global Noize | A Prayer for the Planet

By Peggy Oliver
there is a specific musician who can reconstruct the music of Marvin
(Gaye) and Miles (Davis) and actually bring believability to those
icon’s original versions, Jason Miles would easily qualify. The
keyboardist is quite familiar with sculpting soul, pop, jazz, funk and
turntable wizardry into slightly unconventional, yet still accessible
musical delights. More than just a seasoned sideman/producer who has
worked with Davis, Chaka Khan and Ivan Lins to name a few, Miles was
always willing to stretch beyond the mainstream. After all, who could
also pull off playing the songbook of quirky pop stylist Bjork by
producing ‘The Bjorkestra’?
Then there is DJ Logic, a
turntable genius who has blended his swift beats and unobtrusive loops
with John Mayer, Christian McBride, and many others. As a fan of Miles,
Logic invited the keyboardist for a performance at the Blue Note in
2006 where the connection was more then inevitable. That
life-changing event left the duo envisioning to find a perfect vehicle
to communicate the strong impact that various musical cultures play. The
final answer would be the fusion project entitled Global Noize, whose
Shanachie Entertainment debut in 2008 brought a therapeutic world music
frame of mind. Supporting players like Me’shell Ndegeocello, Herb Alpert
and Bernie Worrell added their own nuances in this critically acclaimed
disc that covered jazz and funk with lots of international flavor.

the self-titled debut, several musicians have joined Miles and Logic in
concert performances; the most recent lineup including Bombay born, New
York-based vocalist Falu (Yo Yo Ma, Wyclef Jean) and saxophonist Jay
Rodriguez (Groove Collective, Steps Ahead), who are featured on Global
Noize’s latest effort: A Prayer for the Planet. The other supporting players on Prayer are
less prolific than the debut, but this factor does not strip the
soothing yet powerful global atmospheric tapestry with an old school
heart. “21st Century Preacherman” has plenty of jazzy soul
grooves and electro funk bits framing Karl Denson’s vocal tenacity,
greasy organ licks and turntable scratches scattered throughout. An
Indian influenced soundtrack of plucked strings and Falu’s droning alto
matched with Andy Switzer’s lively saxophone runs and funky guitar
stroke grace “Charismalove.” One of Africa’s jazz sensations Malika
Zarra joins forces with Lee Oskar’s harmonica squeezing the grooves
every which way on “Viva La Femme,” anchored by the double fisted
percussion tandem: Mocean Worker and Tupac Mantilla. The usually mellow
mood shifts momentarily with “RIOS (Race in Outer Space)” as Miles,
saxophonist Jeff Coffin (Bela Fleck & The Flecktones) and
Israeli-born guitarist Oz Noy’s tight interplay make up the ingredients
for sizzling jazz fusion. Brazilian vocalist Lica Cecato poetic approach
adds a gentle spirit throughout the laid-back samba, “Natuerza E Paz
(Nature & Peace).”
Although Global Noize’s A Prayer for the Planet drops plenty of nice globally-infected medicine, there are a couple of disappointments. For instance, “Cosmic Hug” and “Tokyo Sunrise” are
pleasing to the ear, yet lack the international flair and musical
risk level that originally made Global Noize an alternative voice for
the world and jazz music community. Nonetheless,
A Prayer for the Planet still proves Miles and DJ Logic have plenty more global grooves up Global Noize’s sleeve for the next time they hit the studio.

Peggy Oliver

The Urban Music Scene  

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