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-Greg’s Take-

One of the greatest things about the musical world we live in today is experiencing the evolution music has taken and is taking. It is the one thing that continues to expand and evolve.

For Italian based Mop Mop, evolution has come in the most instinctive, organic form. Through the contributions of over fifteen musicians, a new land has been created and, frankly, I don’t want to leave.

Mop Mop has built the Isle Of Magic. As they explain, it is “an imaginary land populated by musicians who spend their time fishing, cooking, playing and practicing voodoo rites at night;” and through thirteen richly defined tracks, their world takes shape.

Producer/musician Andrea Benini took plenty of time to put together a team of musicians to master the Isle. Along with Alex Trebo, Pasquale Mirra, Guglielmo Pagnozzi, Salvatore Lauriola, Lorenzo Ternelli and Danilo Mineo the foundation of Mop Mop is set. Utilizing an array of sound intertwined with the usual lineup, Mop Mop tosses in the beautiful sounds of the vibraphone and marimba along with the instinctually moving percussion of the congas, bendir and udu drums. The resulting sound is somewhere between Caribbean/voodoo jazz, Afro-funk and, well Mop Mop.

Some key players join in the Isle Of Magic. From Fred Wesley’s trombone to poet/singer Anthony Joseph to the angelic voiced Sara Sayed, the album takes a definitive shape. When Wesley and Joseph join forces to craft “Run Around,” the jazz/island style seems to taps into a feeling you were born with, but rarely use. As with most of the tracks on the album, it almost gets your blood pumping to the smooth beats. It will ingrain itself in you and before you realize it, it is too late.

Whether it is the shadowed aura of the spoken vocals of “Let I Go,” the island flavor of “Kamakumba” or the soulful power of “Loa Chant,” Isle Of Magic stands proud on the essence of music that is born into us all. Mop Mop proves that the evolution of music does not mean antiquating styles; but rather, infusing them and giving them a haven for which they can continue to be heard.