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Bokani Dyer - Radio Sechaba (Brownswood Recordings)

24 May 2023

The keyboardist from Johannesburg’s Mabuta, Bokani Dyer has more to say than can be confined to one outlet. Hence his latest leader album Radio Sechaba. Backed by a selection of fellow South Africans on bass, horns and percussion, Dyer and his cohorts explore the world as it is and the way they’d like it to be. “Mogaetsho” and “State of the Nation” cast a skeptical eye on humanity’s evolution since apartheid came to an end, but “Be Where You Are,” “Victim of Circumstance,” and the irresistible “Move On” find more to celebrate than to fear in our evolution. That optimism comes wrapped in soulful grooves, lush harmonies, and Dyer’s warm keyboard riffs, buoyed by saxophone, trumpet, and rhythms that borrow far more from the jazz fusion idiom than the continent on which Dyer was born. (“Resonance of Truth” is the exception that proves the rule.) Dyer may have come from a country with an officially sanctioned form of racism, but Radio Sechaba shows him to still believe in the human race anyhow.