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In the World
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Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Olu Dara (vocals, trumpet, cornet, guitar, bass drum, percussion); Mayanna Lee (vocals); Nas (rap vocals); John Abrams (tenor saxophone); Rudy "Obadeli" Herbert (Hammond B-3 organ); Kwatei Jones-Quartey (acoustic & electric guitars, percussion, background vocals); Ivan Ramirez (electric guitar, guitar, background vocals); Alonzo Gardner (bass, background vocals); Greg Bandy (drums, percussion, background vocals); Richard James (congas); Melba Joyce, Joyce Malone, Cantrese Alloway, Darada David (background vocals).
  • Recorded at Sear Sound and Platinum Island, New York, New York. Includes liner notes by Ntozake Shange.
  • All tracks have been digitally mastered using HDCD technology.
  • Personnel: Olu Dara (vocals, guitar, trumpet, cornet); Mayanna Lee, Nas (vocals); Kwatei Jones-Quartey (guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, percussion); Ivan Ramirez (guitar); Greg Bandy (drums, percussion); Richard James (congas); Joyce Malone, Cantrese Alloway, Darada David, Melba Joyce (background vocals).
  • Audio Mixer: Danny Kopelson.
  • Liner Note Author: Ntozake Shange.
  • Editor: Fred Kevorkian.
  • You'd think being one of the most in-demand cornet players on the downtown New York avant-jazz scene, performing and recording with innovators like Jamaladeen Tacuma, Material and James Blood Ulmer to name just a few, would be artistic expression aplenty for most musicians. Not so for Olu Dara. On his long overdue solo outing, Dara delivers not the expected Knitting Factory-style jazz romps but rather a seamless, organic blend of funk, blues, African music, folk and jazz that owes as much to Taj Mahal as to Bill Laswell.
  • In fact, there are tracks where Dara doesn't even touch the cornet, relying instead on his earthy voice and rich guitar tones, which are the album's constants. Most of the tunes feature lyrics that examine the everyday reality of urban life in a disarmingly realistic way, setting up Dara as a kind of bluesman for the next millenium. On "Jungle Jay" that urban quotient is accentuated by a guest appearance from Dara's son, hip-hop star Nas. The album closes on a heartfelt, postive note, with the tender lullaby "Kiane."
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (2/19/98, p.58) - 3.5 Stars (out of 5) - "...connects the dots between...the open exchanges of jazz and the droning pain of rural blues, between the percolating rhythms of the islands and the stately parade beats of New Orleans..."

CMJ (1/11/99, p.5) - "...a perfect blend of Southern blues, New York jazz and African rhythms....IN THE WORLD's seductive groove, cool melodies and spare lyrics result in pure enchantment..."

Vibe (2/98, p.125) - "...Now resurrected as a distinctive guitarist and vocalist, Dara cultivates a Brooklyn Delta vibe that owes as much to high life, juju, and reggae as to the juke-joint jive of his Natchez, Mississippi hometown..."

Mojo (Publisher) (4/99, p.116) - "...He's absorbed swing, bebop, folk, blues and every other style, but putting 35 years of jobbing cornet playing playing down on one album - coherently - should have been asking too much..."
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