Alan Skidmore's Ubizo - 50 Journeys (3 stars)

Alan Skidmore's Ubizo - 50 Journeys

(Provocateur Records)


Another foray into the fusion of Coltrane-influenced jazz with a vibrant African vibe that saxophonist Alan Skidmore has previously explored with Ubizo, but with a stronger slant toward the world music pole than on their two earlier discs. The eight-piece band features Skidmore’s tenor alongside German trumpeter Ingolf Burkhardt, the keyboards of Steve Melling and Colin Towns, bass and drums from Neville Malcolm and Mike Paxton, and two African musicians, Saidi Kanda and Musa Mboob.

Towns also produced the album, and the combination invests the music with some punchy soloing (notably from Skidmore and the McCoy Tyner-influenced Melling) and a lively, percussion-heavy, feel-good world jazz groove, although it’s hard to shake the feeling that the music sometimes gets stuck between the two poles without quite aiming for anything more ambitious than an infectious dance feel.

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