The dates of only a few of these 11 songs are given in the liner notes. It's certain that the 69 minutes of music spans the early '70s to the mid-'80s at the least, but beyond that, the chronology isn't laid out, leaving neophytes to wonder how much of his career this best-of surveys. Leaving that consideration aside, it's a reasonable representation of this important African musician's style, kicking off with his most famous song, "Soul Makossa" -- the first Afrobeat song to become an international smash (making the U.S. Top Forty in 1973), and one that was also important in launching disco as a popular style. "Ekedi" and "Africadelic" sound like they also date from around the early '70s, and are invigorating mixes of jazz, soul, and African music -- the mixture, of course, that helped launch African contemporary music into the global consciousness. Later outings from the late '70s have more of a disco flavor and are inferior to those earlier productions, though the bubbly African rhythms and synergy between different styles is still present. For "Electric Africa" in the mid-'80s, he collaborated with Herbie Hancock
and Bill Laswell
, which might have given him some cred with certain audiences, but the song has a stiff electro-funk feel that's dated. Although this anthology illustrates the importance of Dibango
's contributions, one wishes there was a more in-depth scoop of early progressive work along the lines of "Africadelic," the best track here.