The Mackrosoft — Antonio's Giraffe
((Not on label) MS0009, 2006, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2007-03-01
Aja West and company return with eight new slabs of sweet funked-up instrumental jazz, more emphasis on the latter than the former this time, apparently a tribute to the late Antonio Carlos Jobim consisting of all original material. The eight tracks are alive with sassy Latin-tinged grooves and beats, melodies carried by trumpets, trombone, saxes, flute, and vibraphone, underscored by multi-electric pianos, guitars, a bit of synth, and a supremely tight rhythm section flanked by additional percussionists; fifteen players in all have a hand in this, although the compositions are all the work of multi-instrumentalist/conductor/producer West, with some collaboration with bassist/saxophonist Gould Effect and saxophonist Skerik (Critters Buggin/Les Claypool). Occasionally things get back to a heavier funk sound a-la Herbie Hancock, familiar to those who know some of the previous Mackrosoft releases, as heard on “Hold Up” or disc opener “The Immortality Project”. Overall though, the Latin rhythms and brassier sound make this a welcome step in a slightly new direction for the Mackrosoft, and the greater attention to arrangements and production make this the most satisfying album by these guys to date. Fans of Hancock, Steely Dan, Weather Report, and even Jobim himself would do well to investigate.
There's No Time Like the Present – The Belgian band Present has been one of the best avant-rock bands in the world since its formation in 1979. Over the years since then, Present has released nine amazing albums, and now they're ready to start work on number ten. They're looking for some financial help from their fans around the world. » Read more
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more