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Juba Collective: Juba Collective

If percussionist Kahil El’Zabar was raised in Idaho or North Dakota, he might be forgiven for the doltish self-titled CD by his JUBA Collective, an ill-conceived and executed reconciliation of jazz and spoken-word with deep house and hip-hop. But hailing from Chicago, a city known for banging out innovative house music, El’Zabar should have known better than to come out with a record this bad.

JUBA is an acronym for Joined Universal Breath Ascending. In this collective, El’Zabar brings together a cadre of jazz musicians, rappers, visual arts, poets and beat-makers. He grounds the project with a wealth of jazz talent, most notably saxophonist Ari Brown, guitarist Fareed Haque and keyboardist and former Miles Davis sideman Robert Irving III. But instead of pulling rank and getting some of Chicago’s best beat junkies-house pioneers like Lil’ Louis or Steve Hurley, or the ultrahip rapper Common, for instance-JUBA Collective features shoddy rhymes and beats from Primerdian and Frank Orrall, respectively.

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