Music » CD Reviews

Aram Danesh and the Super Human Crew

The Spot (Mammoth Entertainment)

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Save for a double album, no record is as easy to review as this sort of multi-genre goulash. You simply make the safe observation that the artist has bitten off more styles than he can chew (but that enough of it works to be a decent listen, etc.).

But in this age of mash-ups and multiproducer extravaganzas, the complaint that an album features too many styles is irrelevant. People now expect a little of everything, and if it's all done well -- as it is on this combination of jazz, hip-hop, and Latin music from Iranian-born guitarist Aram Danesh -- few listeners will be thrown.

True, The Spot could have done without the live cover of Bebel Gilberto's ballad "Mais Feliz," which winds down the Super Human Crew's party a bit early. But elsewhere, the sound is analogous to a more laid-back Ozomatli and also compares favorably to some of the Crew's warm, funky Bay Area peers: Imagine Michael Franti's Spearhead on an album-length Afro-Cuban trip (minus Franti's precision with sociopolitical rhymes). Melodic and infectious, Danesh's rock, reggae, and rap influences integrate fluidly into the tropical grooves, making The Spot a hot-and-cool summer pleasure.

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