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January/February 2001

Ernest Ranglin
Modern Answers To Old Problems
Telarc

With an amazingly tight band and fluent command of traditional and contemporary styles, legendary Jamaican guitarist Ernest Ranglin sets out to explore Modern Answers to Old Problems. This sophisticated, worldly collection interweaves African percussion with straightahead jazz, fusion and more for an always involving, often inspirational sound. Impossibly interlinked rhythms abound: on "Many Roots," for example, a hollow tribal, big-drum sound is offset by springy, octave-jumping guitar work, building a luminous Afro-Caribbean feel. "Sound Invasion" is heady and rich, with big-beat Afro-percussion, modern effects, clipped reggae beats and heavy organ sounds converging in support of Sylvia Tella's growling vocal, appropriately touting "the music of persuasion." "Memories of Senegal" interweaves needling guitar with an expansive, rolling percussive layer for another unique combination. Ranglin himself is a revelation, sounding fresh and relaxed whether he's jamming through hectic-paced runs ("Outernational Incident"), blithely swinging ("Alpinos") or flying in with edgy, bumblebee licks ("What a Day").

Originally published in January/February 2001
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