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3rd World Electric - Kilimanjaro Secret Brew CD (album) cover

KILIMANJARO SECRET BREW

3rd World Electric

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.17 | 18 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 3rd World Electric: Kilimanjaro Secret Brew [2009]

Rating: 6/10

Kilimanjaro Secret Brew is the debut album from Roine Stolt's jazz-fusion side project 3rd World Electric. When I first discovered this album's existence, I was incredibly excited. The idea of Roine Stolt, Jonas Reingold, Lalle Larsson, and Zoltan Czorsz all playing jazz together was more than enough to pique my interest. These are some my all-time favorite symphonic-prog musicians, and I was anxious to hear them tackle a different musical style. The Flower Kings are not total strangers to jazz; the instrumental tracks on Unfold the Future, the middle section of 'I Am the Sun Part 1' from Space Revolver, and 'The Melting Pot' from Retopolis all feature a strong fusion slant. Unexpectedly, however, this album bears very little resemblance to these tracks. The music on Kilimanjaro Secret Brew strongly evokes Weather Report's 70s albums, and there is also a noticeable world-music influence. While there are excellent moments here, I find much of much this album to be disappointingly sterile and unadventurous.

The opener 'Waterfront Migration' is a reggae-influenced track with a strong sax presence. Jonas's bass work is excellent and Larsson's synth solo is fantastic, but the main motif is unexciting. 'Ode to Joe' comes a bit too close to smooth-jazz for my tastes, even though the bass tones are tasty as always. The excellent 'CapeTown Traffic' lays down an excellent groove complemented by some smoking Moog. This whole track is quite groovy, with funky bass and smooth sax. Roine finally busts out a few guitar licks on 'Downbeat Dakar.' There are some good solo sections here; however, as with many others of these tracks, the main hook seems generic and uninteresting. 'The Lava Juggler' is the strongest track on the album. The band revs up the energy here: the sax is wailing, the bass is thumping, and the synths are pulsating. The hook is excellent, as well; this is a superb track in every way. The title track is a mellow piece with more strong bass and synth work. It also includes one of the highlights of the album: a laid-back guitar solo from Roine. 'Tin Can Robots' is another groovy, funky track with some high-energy guitar work. Although it doesn't quite reach of the level of the previous two tracks, this is one of the better pieces on the album. 'Children of the Future' is the longest track here. Larrson is the star here; he lays down terrific piano and synth, ending the album on a high note.

The Swedish Prog Family created a very good album with Kilimanjaro Secret Brew, but they could have created a better one. These are phenomenal musicians, and I know for a fact that they are able to work well within the jazz mold. John (Mellotron Storm) said it perfectly in his review: 'This album is just too safe.' There's simply not enough creativity going on here. There are vast possibilities in fusion, but it seems like the band is afraid to cross into them. Instead, they opted for nothing but a smooth and light approach. This approach works fantastically with symphonic prog, but it seems rather dull when put into a jazz context. That's not to say that there aren't good things to say about this album. The musicianship is superb. Larsson's synths are phenomenal, and Jonas's bass work is incredible as always. However, I do wish that Roine was given more of a place of this album. He is one of my favorite guitarists, but he only shows up a few times here. These few appearances form some of the best moments on the album, which only makes me sadder that he isn't more strongly featured. Overall, though, I find myself feeling good after listening to Kilimanjaro Secret Brew. Regardless, I wish that the band had pulled a few more punches on this release.

Anthony H. | 3/5 |

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