Cornetist/guitarist/vocalist Olu Dara has worked as a sideman for such jazz greats as Art Blakey and Cassandra Wilson and composed music for the plays of August Wilson. Dara's latest solo album, Neighborhoods, proves he's a master in his own right. Dara has an itinerant musical spirit--drawing from percussive African pop on the joyous Massamba, and on Bahamian folk for the stirring Out on the Rolling Sea. His dark, commanding voice, like the strong, muddy currents of the Mississippi, winds its way though all these songs, baptizing them with the blues.
--By Christopher John Farley