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Joystone
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  • Yes, that's a dashiki-clad Jimi Tenor on the cover of Joystone (and on the back cover, crouched in the grass, accompanied by a walking stick), although the earthy '70s avant-garde of Astral Traveling and Thembi is only a partial influence on this, his first record released with help from the new-groove merchants at Ubiquity. From the first track, it appears Tenor is using his "special instruments" (from the credit) to connect the dots from Lonnie Liston Smith to Fela Kuti to Stereolab. His co-credited partners are Kabu Kabu, a potent West African rhythm section including at least one of Kuti's former sidemen, Nicholas Addo Nettey. (Support also comes from nine of Tenor's Finnish compatriots, jazz musicians all.) Despite the heavy jazz quotient, Joystone is above all a party album, with Tenor once again playing the interstellar love man with features like "Hot Baby," "I Wanna Hook Up with You," "Bedroom Eyes," and "Love Is the Only God." His vocals are as quavery as ever but also quite endearing, and best of all, they're over soon enough as the fabulous musicians (Tenor among them) use his themes as launching pads to more great solos and rhythmic finesse. ~ John Bush
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