After Strut Records reissued 'Mulatu Of Ethiopia', Mulatu Astatke's 1967 masterpiece, last year, the label continues on its chosen path with 'Afro-Latin Soul Vols. 1 & 2', at the time also recorded for Gil Snapper's Worthy Records label, but a year earlier than 'Mulatu Of Ethiopia'. However if you're expecting the typical Ethio-jazz that has become Astatke's trademark on this album, you'll be in for will be sadly disappointed. Mulatu recorded this album just after graduating from Boston's famous Berklee College of Music and wanted to make an attempt to reconcile traditional Ethiopian music with jazz and especially Latin influences: "I have always felt a deep connection between Latin and African music. I travelled to Cuba and listened to their musicians; the tempo, rhythm and feeling was very similar to different African forms. In the mid-nineteen sixties, I formed a band called The Ethiopian Quintet in New York comprising Ethiopian, Latin and Afro-American musicians - the band included trumpeter and pianist Rudy Houston, who later played with Yambu, and Felix Torres, who played with La Sonora Ponceña. The best tracks on 'Afro-Latin Soul' (opener 'I Faram Gami I Faram', an adaptation of an Ethiopian warrior song, the enchanting 'Shagu', the jazzy 'One For Buzayhew', the romantic 'A Kiss Before Dawn'...) sound like the better Latin jazz, but here and there ('Alone In The Crowd', 'Love Mood For Two'...) this album also inadvertently evokes memories of the kind of muzak you'll still here in the odd hotel elevator or as waiting music on the phone. Interesting experiment, but, in all honesty, more of an album for Mulatu diehards, and certainly not the album Astatke will be remembered for.