On soprano saxophonist Sam Newsome’s The Straight Horn of Africa: A Path to Liberation, the second entry in his The Art of the Soprano series, one hears, in addition to the leader’s ax, the sounds of mbira, synthesizer, flute and clarinet. But that’s all that’s present: the sounds of those instruments. By way of extended techniques and overdubbing, everything on Straight Horn is actually Newsome’s soprano. (Well, there is piano on one track.) With just a saxophone and forward thinking, Newsome has created a strange and intimate world of African-influenced music. It all feels special and original. Straight Horn is a stunning statement.
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