Review Summary: A funky Jazz Fusion album with some African influenced aesthetics for seasoning.Antibalas
is a very exuberant performance, and one that exhibits a wide variety of influences. Most of the compositions emphasize on an agile rhythmic groove that exudes an irresistible dancing allure, but there are also several occasions were we find the musicians dwelling into elaborate improvisatory moments of Jazz-influenced soloistic musicianship. The album opens with "Dirty Money"
, and the music begins to flow on a funk influenced melodic framework established by the piano and guitar sections. As the music ensues, the wind instruments begin to flourish as they decorate the melodic theme with eruptive solos so as to direct the song into a more free-form Jazz environment.
The musicianship is absolutely impressive throughout the entirety of the album. We can really see Antibalas
expanding on the growing enthusiasm its predecessors had on Afrobeat and World music. Though these influences are present throughout the album, "Him Belly No Go Sweet"
are perhaps the most eminent moments in the album when Antibalas transcend beyond Jazz and embrace the habitual sounds of a variety of cultures. Blending African singing, tribalistic percussions, and the harmonic sensuality of salsa into an ineffable elixir of enticing rhythmic medleys.
Songs like "The Ratcatcher"
and "Ari Degbe"
, on the other hand, show Antibalas returning to a more traditional Jazz routine. Martin Perna and Stuart Bogie assert dominance over the other instruments with their respective baritone and tenor saxophones. Each taking their turn to release a series of intensive solos that innovate the rhythmic framework as they pioneer into their own melodies. Antibalas
is a highly entertaining and artistically impressive Fusion release. The album doesn't necessarily explore any new styles that haven't already been covered by early defining Fusion contemporaries like The Weather Report and Herbie Hancock, or renowned Afrobeat artist, Fela Kuti, but it does provide one fascinating performance that will be sure too keep any Jazz enthusiast hooked for days.