“Bujo” Kevin Jones: Tenth World

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Bill Milkowski

Bujo Kevin Jones

Percussionist Bujo Kevin Jones combines the spirit of Africa with modern jazz on his impressive debut as a leader. Produced by drummer Babatunde Lea, Tenth World incorporates the heightened aesthetic of John Coltrane’s classic quartet on the opening “Bodhisattva Wonderful Sound.” Reminiscent of Trane’s treatment of Mongo Santamaria’s “Afro Blue,” this 12/8 vehicle is underscored by George Makinto’s balafon and Jones’ djembe drumming and also features some heightened expressions by pianist Kelvin Sholar, soprano saxophonist Brian Horton and flutist Makinto (who also composed the ode “McCoy’s Joy”). The group explores a Latin-jazz vibe on Sholar’s “Estilo Nuevo” and deals in R&B territory on Sholar’s anthemic “New Nation.”

Flutist-composer Makinto, a native of Liberia, also contributes the lovely guajira “Bukoki.” Elsewhere, they put a hypnotic 6/8 groove underneath Victor Feldman’s “Seven Steps to Heaven,” a staple for the Miles Davis quintet, and they deliver some Fela-style Afro-beat on “Climb the Mountain.” The collection closes with a brief three-way percussion dialogue that only hints at the essence of what Olatunji and company delved into in a much deeper sense.