With contagious ebullience, drummer/ percussionist Babatunde Lea's "Suite Unseen: Summoner of the Ghost" pays homage to the spirits of friends, family and musical masters.

With contagious ebullience, drummer/ percussionist Babatunde Lea's "Suite Unseen: Summoner of the Ghost" pays homage to the spirits of friends, family and musical masters. Still, the collection starts with a sputter: a couple of so-so Latin-inflected swingers and a ballad that suggest the CD is bound for a straight-ahead snooze. But the tide turns on the fifth track—"The Bay Area's Afro-Latin Funky Love Shuffle" —which ignites the proceedings. Interspersed throughout is Lea's compelling five-part "Suite Unseen," the kalimba-spawned percussive fest "Spirit of the Wood" and the funky title tune summoning jazz greats. Lea also totally revamps James Taylor's "Fire and Rain" with a chant chorus (the only vocals on the album) and Richard Howell's soprano sax groove. Trombonist Steve Turre sings on his instrument, pianist Glen Pearson adds a sparkle, and Lea girds the outing with his rhythmic mastery.—DO