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Fra Fra Sound — Kultiplex
(Pramisi BMCD 402, 2003, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2004-04-01

Kultiplex Cover artFra Fra Sound is a Dutch band that's been around since 1980, fusing elements of jazz and world music. Founder/bassist Vincent Henar hails from Surinam in South America, and other members of the band seem to represent various parts of Europe and Africa. Even with all their diverse backgrounds and interests, Fra Fra keeps the focus mostly on the jazz, coming off something like the Yellowjackets with Afro-pop guitar parts. The lineup features a rhythm section of d/b/k/g with sax and trumpet up front; aside from the horns, keyboardist Robin van Geerke gets a lot of the solo time, with a fairly adventurous touch on both acoustic and electric piano. Efrain Trujillo (sax) and Michael Simon (trumpet) both solo well, balancing chops and melody nicely. Andro Biswane gets to step forward on guitar a few times, with a clean jazzy tone and bright blues lines spiced with African elements. Only once, on “Para United,” does the world influence come to the fore, with driving percussion backing call-and-response vocals. Then it's back to the smooth jazz. I'd prefer a bit more edge to the arrangements, or more emphasis on the Afro-Caribbean style, but many will surely enjoy this. Picture yourself in the lounge at the Dakar Hilton...

Filed under: New releases, Issue 29, 2003 releases

Related artist(s): Fra Fra Sound

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