Lee Oskar - She Said Mahalo
by Kevin Wierzbicki
Here's a very nice instrumental set from famed harmonica player Lee Oskar, whose playing became familiar to millions when he was a member of War where his harmonica work was an integral part of the band's sound as it flavored hits like "Low Rider," "Spill the Wine," "Cisco Kid," "Why Can't We Be Friends" and others. Oskar wrote or co-wrote everything here and he starts off in an island mood with "Caribbean Love Song" where his harmonica parts float through the song like a gentle sea breeze; the cut is as relaxing and enticing as the beach the listener might dream of while the song plays. "Children of the World" has a bit of an island feeling to it too, as well as other international sounds, mostly thanks to percussion from Thione Diop and guitar playing from Brian Monroney, both of which add Latin flourishes. "She Said Mahalo" is mellow and reflective, "Most Favored Nation" is a classic reggae groove suitable for a slow dance with especially bluesy harmonica while "Funky Rhetoric" is buoyant R&B that War fans will love. "One-World Fist" also recalls the funkier side of War. Oskar's playing has always been very expressive but fans may be surprised at how much is said here without the use of a single word.