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In September the group will release its third album, Karimba, on ESL Music—the label owned and run by members of Thievery Corporation. The new material is in the same vein as the old, but considering how thoughtful and sharp Novalima has always been, I see no reason to complain about that. The band enhances traditional forms and instrumentation with modern production (guitar, bass, programmed beats, and keyboards alongside thumping cajon and a froth of auxiliary percussion—congas, bongos, timbales, cajita). I haven't found anyone who can confirm who's currently singing with the band, but the throaty vocals on Karimba are terrific—I'm guessing it's still Milagros Guerrero and Juan Medrano "Cotito," who both appeared on 2009's Coba Coba (Cumbancha). As usual, Novalima stretches its sound to incorporate other styles—hip-hop, reggae, Cuban son, funk, and (on "Macaco") some old-school clarinet-fronted cumbia. Below you can hear "Festejo," the opening track from the forthcoming album.
Elisa Randazzo, Bruises & Butterflies (Drag City)
Dave King, Indelicate (Sunnyside)
Lee Konitz New Quartet, Live at the Village Vanguard (Enja)
John Hébert Trio, Spiritual Lover (Clean Feed)
Philip Jeck, An Ark for the Listener (Touch)