Jazz Roots: The Music of the Americas
by Various Artists
Released: Apr 2011
Label: MASTERWORKS JAZZ
Sure, "America's classical music" is a house partially built on African rhythmic foundations, but there's something a bit out-of-tune about kicking off this sprawling overview of the Music of the Americas with Nigerian drummer Babatunde Olatunji while neglecting to include other seminal streams of influence. This Smithsonian compilation, while laudable for its worthy ambition to drill to the essence of a great American genre, emerges as a fairly erratic compilation. Kudos for the Parker, Joplin, Miles and Monk, but including Kenny G and omitting Coltrane gives it a comically flawed aftertaste.