October 18, 2016
The KutiMangoes | Made In Africa
TITLE: Made In Africa
Here’s an unexpected pleasure: the second album by a Copenhagen-based band influenced by Afrobeat, electric jazz, soul and blues. The KutiMangoes are a sextet led by saxophonist Michael Blicher and Gustav Rasmussen, who doubles on guitar and trombone. They say they’re inspired by Fela Kuti, Charles Mingus and Ornette Coleman; I can’t find many specific references to the latter two, but jazz in general is a major component of their sound, and so certainly is Afrobeat. In the way they combine the two, they remind me of no one more than Richmond’s own Hotel X. Listen to tracks like 1 and 7, which feature vocalist Patrick Kebre who got the band to record this album in his native Burkina Faso, and tell me if you don’t agree. 7 also makes me think of Don Pullen’s wonderful African-Brazilian Connection. They’re particularly good on the Afrobeat material like 2 (my favorite track here) and 4, which is in the progressive vein of bands like Antibalas, the Shaolin Afronauts and Tony Allen’s recent work. Out of the blue, here’s another world-class Afro-jazz combo.
TOP TRACKS: 1 2 4 7
ALSO RECOMMENDED: 3 6 8 9 10