Palm Pictures Music, the record company Chris Blackwell kept for himself after selling his Island juggernaut to the majors, quietly sustains the progressive Pan-African focus that helped Island stay innovative through the 1970s and 80s. Ejigayehu “Gigi” Shibawbaw reaffirms Blackwood’s longstanding interest in Afro-pop with Gold & Wax, her second release for the label. Gigi is an Ethiopian diva whose eponymous 2001 debut purveyed an update of traditional African material embellished with elements of reggae, jazz, and Indian ragas. Making few concessions to European preferences in harmony or melody, Gigi’s reedy vocals chase up and down Afro-Asiatic scales while sarangi, tabla, keyboards and guitar following her ambitious lead. Producer Bill Laswell gives her the Weather Report/Return to Forever treatment — steeping her coloratura in vintage jazz-fusion spiked with funky hints of Fela’s keyboards and sax fills. With only one song (‘Utopia’), in English, Gold & Wax doesn’t bother translating attitudinal mood music like ‘Anten’ or ‘Hulu-Dane,’ and will likely be embraced more quickly by hardcore jazz heads than fans of disco-friendly worldbeat.