Saxophonist David Murray signed to Justin Time in ’95 and makes his Justin Time debut on Fo Deuk Revue, an impressively ambitious work recorded in Dakar, Senegal in mid-’96. His ensemble on this record includes American artists such as Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Darryl Burgee, Hugh Ragin, and Robert Irving III, as well as a host of Senegalese stars including sabar player Doudou N’Diaye Rose and rappers Positive Black Soul. Fo Deuk Revue brings together elements of jazz, funk, African percussion, rap, Afro-pop, and spoken word poetry—a massive fusion of styles and sounds.
While the combinations often succeed (witness « Village Urbana, » a groovy piece with Senegalese rapping and Murray’s trademark intense blowing; or « Evidence, » a showcase for Amiri Baraka’s dramatic reading of his intense poem « Africa »), they just as often regress into cheesy smooth jazz or boxed-in formulaic drumming. In parts, the sound creeps closer to the Afro-American tradition than the African one, instead of heading somewhere in between. This deviation originates in large part from the incessantly smooth backing keyboards and Tacuma’s usual wanky and out-of-touch bass playing. Just like any work with this incredible range of sounds, Fo Deuk Revue has its hits as well as its misses. Murray deserves credit for even attempting the project, and for Murray fans Fo Deuk Revue presents a totally unique sound hitherto unavailable on record.