135

Euforquestra: Explorations In Afrobeat

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
Euforquestra: Explorations In Afrobeat The second release from this seven-piece ensemble seems quite purposeful. Subtitled A fusion of Nigerian and Cuban music rooted in Yoruba tradition, it explores the deep connection between West African Afrobeat and Afro-Cuban music channeled through the religious, ceremonial music of the Yoruba tradition of West Africa.

Purposeful? The detailed liner notes sure seem so. For example, they explain that the Yoruba are the largest single ethno-linguistic group in Nigeria and the second largest in Africa, and that Yoruba culture was connected with the west through the slave trade that brought West Africans to Cuba to work the sugar fields.

As dry as that may read, Explorations In Afrobeat explodes, dances and melts in your ear with sheer bliss. Two members of the septet, Matt Grundstad (percussion, lead vocals) and Adam Grosso (bass, vibes, vocals), studied in Cuba with members of Los Muñequitos de Matanzas and Grupo Afro-Cuba. The remaining five—Ryan Jeter (tenor saxophone, vocals), Austin Zaletel (alto saxophone, vocals), Mike Tallman (guitar, vocals), Josten Foley (drums, vocals) and Eric Quiner (keyboards, vocals)—never lag behind, as they collectively whip through this set comprising the Orisha, the list of Yoruban gods each song ceremonially honors.

Flowing with thick, lusty rhythms that heat your blood, each musician's part interlocks so tightly with the others' that this music seems so coiled it might explode. Tallman strums and stabs guitar rhythms that sound both African (chiming juju in "Elegua ) and Caribbean ("Obatalá, with chords more familiar in Western ears from reggae).

African guitar and Afro-Cuban percussion blossom from electric organ swells of "Ogún, then every instrument lifts up and sings in a joyous, communal and primal rhythm, with horn charts that stab equal parts melodic and rhythmic punctuation. Jeter's tenor saxophone solo wails like a siren to stoke even higher the rhythmic flame of this dervish named for the Orisha of metal and war who "also represents all forms of energy. Wisely named, "Ogún is twelve crackling minutes of pure electricity.

"With this album we have done our best to take elements of Nigerian and Afro-Cuban music and combine them with our own ideas, notes Grundstad. "Our intent is not to 'steal' music from other cultures but to learn from them and share them with anyone who is willing to listen.


Track Listing: Elegua; Ogun; Obatala; Intro; Chango; Intro; Ochun; Elegua Outro.

Personnel: Mike Tallman: guitar, mandolin, vocals; Eric Quiner: keyboards, vocals; Adam Grosso: bass, steelpan, vibes, vocals; Josten Foley: drumset, vocals; Matt Grundstad: percussion, vocals; Ryan Jeter: tenor saxophone, vocals; Austin Zaletel: alto saxophone, vocals.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Eufórquestra Productions | Style: Latin/World


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Illegal Crowns" CD/LP/Track Review Illegal Crowns
by John Sharpe
Published: December 10, 2016
Read "Stephan Crump's Rhombal" CD/LP/Track Review Stephan Crump's Rhombal
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 20, 2016
Read "Sedimental You" CD/LP/Track Review Sedimental You
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 21, 2016
Read "The Broader Picture" CD/LP/Track Review The Broader Picture
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 8, 2016
Read "Shimmer And Melt" CD/LP/Track Review Shimmer And Melt
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 1, 2016
Read "Meditations" CD/LP/Track Review Meditations
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: June 4, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!