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Wadada Leo Smith/Thomas Mapfumo: Dreams and Secrets

Whenever two bands come together for a collaboration, usually one will dominate. On Dreams and Secrets the edge goes to Zimbabwean singer Thomas Mapfumo and his percussion-based Blacks Unlimited ensemble, but make no mistake: trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith’s avant-jazz outfit N’Da Kulture certainly puts its mark on the music.

Those only familiar with Smith’s organic, mild-mannered jazz extractions will be surprised to hear his electric band, N’Da Kulture, which features flame-throwing guitarist Henry Kaiser and Woody Lee Aplanalp in this incarnation. The collaboration integrates Smith’s new-era fusion with Mapfumo’s nontraditional Zimbabwean music, which he calls chimurenga (“music of struggle”).

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