City Paper is not for tourists
Even less evocative of “the Trenchtown experience” than those “Come Home to Jamaica” ads it shares a theme tune with, One Love seems as intent on advancing acid jazz into the U.S. lifestyle-music arena as feting its nominal honoree. Brit saxophonist/producer Courtney Pine’s good intentions and (very) occasional rhythmic righteousness aside, this is another poorly conceived byproduct of the impulse to turn complex culture heroes like Marley (and Lennon and Gaye) into one-dimensional nice-guy icons. Pine’s approach, and those of the bland guest singers, ensures that the material is bled of anything beyond its melodicism. A sampled Marley opines that his singing career kicked off with his crying as a baby, but here that spirit is little more than an abandoned child. One Love’s selections run the gamut from the slickly inoffensive to the truly, deeply maddening. Both the new Cocktail Nation and the old Rasta one will no doubt rise in protest if their members ever happen upon Omar’s lounge-lite version of “Natural Mystic.” Like those TV spots, Pine’s “Nice Time” erases all hints of pain, implying an easily won long weekend away from Babylon. And somebody named Noel McCoy provides a karaoke treatment of “Redemption Song.” While Dennis Rollins’ hiphopping “Night Shift” might do if it came on at a party, it’s hard to believe that One Love will appeal to more than a few late arrivals to the continuing celebration of Marley’s legacy.