Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: Afroskull, To Obscurity and Beyond

Afroskull is a funk-rock-soul-jazz collective originally based in New Orleans and now working out of New York. Their first album, Monster for the Masses in 2000 showed immense promise with at least one all-out kick ass track in “It”. However, for all of their potential, their reach exceeded their grasp as the band was not quite up to consistently realizing songwriter/guitarist Joe Scatassa’s visions.  Monster for the Masses is a very good album that would be worth your time to find but the band was not quite ready for prime time.  Close, but not quite there.

That’s changed.  Shit happened, Afroskull more or less came undone, Scatassa and drummer Jason Isaac moved to New York and Afroskull was reconstituted with Matt Iselin (keyboards), Dan Asher (bass) and Seth Moutal (percussion).  Moving to New York gave Afroskull something they didn’t have in New Orleans – access to New York’s cadre of great jazz horn players.  No matter what you think of Wynton Marsalis’ rigid, limited, my-view-is-the-only-view approach to jazz, there’s no question that New Orleans has been the home of superb horn players for well over 100 years but for whatever reason Afroskull didn’t hook up with the best of them.  They did in New York.  On To Obscurity and Beyond the band is joined by baritone sax colossus and original member of the Mingus Big Band Ronnie Cuber along with the Horns of Doom composed of Jeff Pierce (trumpet), Justin Flynn (tenor sax) and Rafi Malkiel (trombone).  These guys make Tower of Power sound like a high-school band.

The results are immediately apparent.  To Obscurity and Beyond is dense with horn charts that are brilliantly written and tightly executed.  World class stuff.  The band churns, drives, rips and roars while the horn section blasts into the stratosphere.  This is big band funk-rock-jazz music of the first order.   Put To Obscurity and Beyond in your CD player and Afroskull stomps into your house, destroys the furniture, scares the neighbors, and leaves everyone sweating, happy, and wanting more.

If you have any interest in driving rock-funk-jazz-soul big band music check out To Obscurity and Beyond.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.  If you don’t already have an interest in this kind of music To Obscurity and Beyond would be a great place to start.

Here’s a taste.  Turn it up.

“Dance of the Wild Koba” from To Obscurity and Beyond

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04/03/2010 - Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews | , , , , , ,

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