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The Cheebacabra — Metamorphosis
(Makrosoft MS 0007, 2003, CD)

by Jim Chokey, Published 2004-04-01

Metamorphosis Cover artAn instrumental funk outfit from the U.S. west coast, The Cheebacabra is led by a drummer/keyboardist named Cheeba, who is joined by six other musicians on keys, guitar, sax, and percussion. The album’s ten tunes (five on each side) are extremely short. Most average two minutes long; the whole LP takes less than 25 minutes to play all the way through. The group’s approach shows a jazz-fusion pedigree — looking back to Herbie Hancock’s classic jazz-funk album Headhunters, although there’s a big difference between Hancock’s spacious explorations (which allow for lots of soloing) and these brief pieces. There is a distinct retro feel here, as the rhythms, the fusion flourishes, and the classic keyboard timbres (jazz-organ, Moog, Fender Rhodes, wah-wah clavinet) evoke the sounds and flavors of the late 70s. In fact, it would be easy to imagine that these tunes come from a soundtrack of the era — an urban cop drama, a blaxploitation flick, or maybe a porn film. Only the frequent use of unvaried, too-heavy, slightly electronicized drum beats betrays the recentness of this recording and its indebtedness (however slight) to current club sensibilities. Still, readers who enjoy a classic funk sound will find Metamorphosis to be a fun listen that skillfully mimics the sounds and styles of classic jazz-funk. They may, however, wish that the tunes were a little longer so that the musicians could do something a bit more than lay down a quick two-minute groove.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 29, 2003 releases

Related artist(s): The Cheebacabra

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