508

Grupo Fantasma: Sonidos Gold

By

Sign in to view read count
Grupo Fantasma: Sonidos Gold When you've got Prince's seal of approval, little else matters. Austinites Grupo Fantasma have long been the Purple One's band du jour, logging a two-month residency at his Las Vegas nightclub 3121, a Golden Globes after party performance that saw the band joined by Prince, Talib Kweli, Will.i.am, Mary J. Blige, and Marc Anthony, as well as other performances alongside the icon in London, Miami and the Capital City itself.

Sonidos Gold is the best document of Grupo's cumbia-salsa-funk fusion to date. Led by guitarist/producer Adrian Quesada, the Grupo orchestra is in fine form on the dozen tracks that make up Sonidos, and give, as the title would suggest, a golden performance.

Whether it's the Grupo horn section of Gilbert Elorreaga (trumpet), Joshua Levy (saxophones), and Leo Gauana (trombone) leading the way on opening jam "El Sabio Soy Yo," or the percussive force of Johnny Lopez (drums), Matthew Holmes (congas) and quasi-frontman Jose Galeano (timbales) moving and shaking the rhythm, as on "Arroz con Frijoles," Grupo Fantasma is above all tight, operating as a cohesive unit, always in-tune with each other.

"Arroz" is all but a drummer's wet dream—loads of percussion (timbales, congas, cowbells, shakers, handclaps and whistles) all layered on top of one another make for one of the most exciting drum breaks ever. Fania All-Stars arranger Larry Harlow lends his hands to "Rumba y Guaguanaco" along with trombonist and Parliament Funkadelic vet Greg Boyer. "Bacalao Con Pan" shows signs of Grupo side-project Brownout, combining breakbeat funk with Latin soul a la Eddie Palmieri. Rounding out the guest appearances is the legendary Maceo Parker, whose saxophone lights up "Gimme Some," a stick-up anthem that finds the band singing in English for a change.

The production is perfect and exactly what the band requires. The excitement and raw energy of its live shows are translated brilliantly to record, with little if any post-production fluff. Hearing Grupo Fantasma live sounds a lot like Sonidos. The horns carry all the necessary punch, the drums speak to the soul on a spiritual level, and the vocals are just about all that carry any signs of post-production, with reverb adding psychedelic air to Quesada and Galaeno's words.

Grupo Fantasma turns in an inspired performance on Sonidos Gold. Truer to the tradition than West Coast contemporaries Ozomatli, Grupo is one the most exciting bands out there right now—just ask Prince.


Track Listing: El Sabio Soy Yo; Levantate; Arroz con Frijoles; Rumba y Guaguanco; Bacalao con Pan; Rebotar; Cumbia de los Pajaritos; Gimme Some; Soltero; Se Te Mira; Desconocido; Perso Fra i Mesquites.

Personnel: Adrian Quesada: guitar; Johnny Lopez: drums; Jose Galeano: vocals, timbales; Gilbert Elorreaga: trumpet; Beto Martinez: guitar; Kino Rodriguez: vocals; Greg Gonzalez: bass; Joshua Levy: saxophones; Matthew "Sweet Lou" Holmes: congas; Leo Gauna: trombone.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Aire Sol Records | Style: Latin/World


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Across the Universe" CD/LP/Track Review Across the Universe
by Dave Wayne
Published: May 1, 2016
Read "Sanguinaria (Hopeful Songs)" CD/LP/Track Review Sanguinaria (Hopeful Songs)
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 24, 2017
Read "Reconnect" CD/LP/Track Review Reconnect
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: February 26, 2016
Read "Brasil L.I.K.E" CD/LP/Track Review Brasil L.I.K.E
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 30, 2016
Read "Paco and John - Live at Montreux 1987" CD/LP/Track Review Paco and John - Live at Montreux 1987
by John Kelman
Published: August 29, 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!