British label Strut made a name for itself in the late '90s as a prime catalyst for the burgeoning revival of interest in Nigerian Afrobeat, due to their reissues of Tony Allen's early post-Fela work, along with two mind-blowing compilations — Club Africa and Nigeria 70. The latter was a hefty, three-disc masterpiece, with two CDs of tunes by artists both well-known (Fela, Allen, Peter King) and otherwise (Gaspar Lawal, Monomono) and, interestingly, an audio documentary on the Lagos music scene. By 2002, however, the label had taken to electro-funk and post-disco collections, and soon enough it disappeared. Now, under the distribution wing of !K7 Records, Strut has returned and along with the label's revival comes a nice, compact follow-up to Nigeria 70. The single-CD Lagos Jump moves away from the extended funk jams of its predecessor and focuses on soulful pop concision, allowing for the inclusion of 16 songs. Pushing artists little known outside of African tape-trading circles, Lagos Jump shows off the three-minutes-of-perfection that talents like Eddie Okwedy, Ify Jerry Crusade and Olufemi Ajasa were capable of. Only one song — the grindingly funky "Wetin De Watch Goat, Goat De Watcham" by Eric "Showboy" Akaeze — cruises into extended jam mode. The rest of the material here reflects a giddy evolution of the highlife sound that Fela aficionados may be unfamiliar with.
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