Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Brownout: Aguilas and Cobras

313

Brownout: Aguilas and Cobras

By

Sign in to view read count
Brownout: Aguilas and Cobras
The best little R&B band in (Austin) Texas is the Latino little brother to Grupo Fantasma, which often backs up the miniature R&B tornado known as Prince. "It's funny because we can be rehearsing with Grupo Fantasma one night and then the next night the same group of guys can go back to the rehearsal room and rehearse as Brownout and the music is completely different," muses guitarist Adrian Quesada. For its second release in this Latin configuration, Brownout emerges from the deep, classic funk sound of Sly Stone to embrace the torrid rhythms and percussion of traditional Tejano and other Latin styles. "With this particular record, we tried to take it in different directions, trying to use vocals and certain things on the songs that you wouldn't expect on a funk song or on a Latin funk song," Quesada explains.

It's evident from the jump-start of the opening "Con El Cuete" that Brownout embodies the best American and Latin R&B rock and funk styles. It crackles and pops with rhythmic electricity, the Latino chant locks down into the rhythm and is echoed and punctuated by horn blast, and then fuzztone guitars cut across sideways to bust this rhythm wide open.

The title track sounds almost nothing like Latin music (jazz or otherwise), a head-on rave-up driven hard by the rhythm section and guitars while horns blow the melody off the top like a summertime convertible. Jazz heads will prefer Josh Levy's baritone sax as it rips through "Framed by Death," which melts into two more quicksilver and slippery jams in quick succession ("Another Fire" and "Olvidalo").

"Tell Her She's Lovely" was originally performed by the late-1960s West Coast Latino funk band El Chicano and its smooth rhythm and soulful, mysterious vocal transports Aguilas and Cobras back to the sunny montuno funk of that place and time. "Pole Position" kicks up a fat Memphis big beat behind reggae rhythm and blues lead guitars while Latin percussion keeps the pots boiling hot, and absolutely everybody—the rhythm section, the horn section, and the soloists—crashes headlong into its crescendos.

"Pole Position" is not only one of this set's best tunes. It's easily one of the best Latin-jazz-funk-rock-soul instrumental jams ever. It also helps Aguilas and Cobras burn from cover to cover and merit consideration as one of the best releases of 2009.

Track Listing

Con El Cuete; Ayer Y Hoy; Aguilas and Cobras; Tell Her She's Lovely; Framed by Death; Another Fire; Olvidalo; The Flea (Interlude); Slinky; Pole Position; C 130; Family Show; Chanclas de Ninja; Nawlins; Semi Futuristic Love Affair / Con el Cuete (Reprise).

Personnel

Brownout
band / ensemble / orchestra

Adrian Quesda: guitars; Greg Gonzalez: bass; Johnny Lopez: drums; Beto Martinez: guitars; Mark V. "Speedy" Gonzalez: trombone; Josh Levy: baritone saxophone, flute; Gilbert Elorreaga: trumpet; Matthew Holmes: congas; John Speice: percussion; Leo Gauna: trombone; James Petralli: vocals; Travis Davis: keyboards; Daniel Teimann: keyboards; Kino Rodriguez: vocals; Jose Galeano: percussion, vocals; Hacienda (Dante Schwebel, Rene, Jaime and Abraham Villanueva): vocals; Rene Villanueva: vocals; Peter Stopschinski: string arrangements; Jennifer Acosta: violins; Rudy Canales: percussion; Bruce Colson: violins; Bruce James: organ; Suzy Bravo: background vocals.

Album information

Title: Aguilas and Cobras | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Six Degrees Records


Comments

Tags


For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

More

Where Did You Go?
Sandman Project
Traumsequenz
Moritz Stahl
The Cold Arrow
Gregorio / Smith / Bryerton
Mosaic
Nicole McCabe

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.