Armstrong and Nahrmann offer an album jam-packed with layers and layers of sound diversity. The music reaches to every corner of the globe for instruments, rhythms, and song styles to include in the mix and the results are fantastic. While the album’s title is an apt description of the musical effort, it’s a pity that several other CDs share the same title. Make sure you confirm the names of the composers when you’re shopping for it.

The album begins with “Ciao Bella,” the Italian phrase for both hello and goodbye. The music has a jubilant Latin rhythmic flavor accented with wordless vocals, slick guitar leads, horns, and interstellar percussion riffs. Welcome to the zone! “Fear not Fear” opens with a snazzy-jazzy drum and bass intro. Okay, you had me at “hello” with this tune. It’s reminiscent of George Benson’s instrumental adult contemporary jazz work and features some great horn playing. The pace slows down for “Unidad Anthem,” a brief one-minute musical breather before leaping into the irrepressible “Tribute to Dizzy Gillespie.” This is a seriously booty-shaking tune that returns to the roots of mambo from the 1950s.

The song “Shanti Om” blends a sitar raga with tribal drumming for utter awesomeness. “White Cloud Black Thunder” features the Native American wood flute as the lead instrument. A haunting flute intro gives way to a funky beat with the flute player as the Pied Piper of the dance. After a few slower tunes, the rhythms sizzle again in “Fun in the Sun.” This 7:21 minute tune rolls into serious rocking that doesn’t stop for an instant. The lead gets thrown back and forth between guitar and saxophone. The album makes a final stop at “Epilogue,” a gentle wave goodbye by an acoustic guitar and saxophone. You couldn’t ask for a better end to this global musical journey.

The music is upbeat and inclusive, the first word in global variety in terms of rhythms, instruments, and musical idioms. This is a fine CD for playing while car cruising, kicking back and hanging out with friends. The musicianship is superb. Well done! Recommended for style and high-end grooving.

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Artists: Randy Armstrong and Volker Nahrmann
UMP Records 2015
CD Baby – mp3 download $9.99, CD $14.95

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