Home Read Classic Album Review: Olu Dara | Neighborhoods

Classic Album Review: Olu Dara | Neighborhoods

The singer-guitarist roams far & wide, returning with a suitcase of musical souvenirs.

This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


As a backing musician for the likes of James Blood Ulmer, cornetist, guitarist and singer Olu Dara made himself at home in the world of jazz. But since stepping out on his own a few years back, Dara has moved to the wide open spaces.

This sophomore album finds the former Charles Jones (and father of rapper Nas) venturing from New Orleans and Mississippi to Chicago’s south side, and from the Congo to Harlem. Returning with a suitcase full of musical souvenirs, Dara expertly arranges them into hypnotic grooves to support his emotive horn work, conversational vocals and idiosyncratic picking. With a sound that borders blues, jazz, pop, reggae and just about any other African-based music you can name, Neighborhoods may be world music in its truest form.