KING OF THE ZULU TRIBE






Jah Shaka has a long history of bringing out the best in veteran artists, and Winston Jarrett increases the producer's stats with this album. Arguably his best album to date, the singer unleashes a phenomenal cultural set, illuminated by faith and given depth by his wisdom and insight. Jah Shaka's splendid riddims superbly support the singer, creating rootsy backings that evoke the classical era of the genre whilst sounding remarkably fresh, and his signature bouncy, roots rockers styled riddims with a difference are on parade here. Laid down by Shaka's top-tier studio team, the nyahbinghi styled percussion that feeds through the backings are flawlessly offered up by veteran Noel "Skully" Sims, while the militant beats and hefty basslines come courtesy of Anthony Benbow and Earl "Flabba" Holt. But what perhaps sets the producer most apart is the bright feel of his productions, assisted by Felix "Deadly Headly" Bennett's sumptuous sax and Tony Asher's sparkling synth. On the title track, Bennett's smoking horn adds a touch of jazz to the piece, on the militant "Arise" he contributes a sense of exhilaration to the revolution, while Asher gives "Nah Run" a more modern dancehall flavor. However, so full are the arrangements with instrumentation across this set, just picking out all the musicians' individual contributions is a major task. In that respect, the music evokes the production and arrangements of the late '70s, where so many musicians crammed into the studio there was barely room to breathe. Amazingly, Shaka gets the same effect with a band of six. So, it's no wonder that Jarrett was determined to rise to the occasion and create an album that reverberated with the themes and feel of time's long gone. Cajoling people to put "Food In The Pot" so all can eat, adulating Jah, rallying the righteous, chasing off the vampires sucking the blood from the "Children Of The Ghetto," pushing people onto the right path, pulling back the wayward ones, and chanting out his thanks to the Almighty whilst awaiting repatriation to Africa, Jarrett covers all the cultural bases with a passion we haven't heard from him in a while. All told, this is a stellar album that showcases the best of the singer, producer and his studio band.

Jo-Ann Greene ~ AllMusic


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