Music » Music Stories

Ky-Mani with the Yard Squad

Monday, Nov. 8; Karma

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The $64,000 question when dealing with musical progeny: Would they have a contract were it not for the work of their parents? Would Adam Cohen have gotten a shot had it not been for father Leonard? Jakob Dylan? Wilson Phillips? Devon Allman? Arlo Guthrie? The entire Marley clan?

Probably not, actually. Find us one instance in which the work of the offspring has surpassed the work of the parent, and we'll eat our hats.

In this context, the question is directed toward Ky-Mani, who -- surprise, surprise -- has followed his father, Bob Marley (and half-brothers Ziggy and Stephen), into the world of music- making. You'd figure that some of that blessed blood would trickle down into the stream of Ky-Mani, and on his debut CD, The Journey (Gee Street), it does, though the results are mixed. When the Blood reveals itself, it is as much the result of the work of formative reggae rhythm men Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, who worked with some of the legends of the music, including the senior Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. They bridge the generations here, and when they're present, the results are impressive classic reggae. When they're not, though, Ky-Mani stumbles into a sort of quiet-storm reggae-lite, saccharine and meaningless. Is it worth your time and money to see Ky-Mani (who, it must be acknowledged, has admirably ditched his last name to avoid obvious coattail surfing)? Sure. This is solid reggae with a few nods to new-school hip-hop (mercifully, he stays away from dance-hall). Plus, you get to see a Marley in the flesh. But the legacy of the father is not threatened.

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