(Daptone Records, CD)
Staten Island, New York's The Budos Band are an 11-piece Afro-soul act with a gloriously robust sound. Their self-titled debut features 11 instrumentals loaded with gooey grooves and penetrating melodies.
The band got its start in an after-school jazz ensemble at a local community center. Enamored by such old-school soul and Afro-beat acts as Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings and Antibalas, the young musicians began exploring the roots of black music. When they outgrew the extramural program, they started rehearsing on their own. Not long after, they auditioned for a Daptone A&R rep, who signed them on the spot.
Listening to this disc, it's easy to see why. Budos Band are masters of hypno-soul, combining brass, congos, guitars and organ in a steamy musical stew. Each tune employs deceptively simple rhythmic figures, layered in interlocking patterns.
"Up From the South" opens with naked bass guitar, which is soon augmented by reverb-drenched horns and grainy organ. The following cut, "T.I.B.W.F." showcases a dub influence, with a monolithic bass riff and restless axe work. A dizzying trumpet solo appears before the tune fades away in a spare arrangement of baritone sax and hand percussion.
Ever wonder what a '70s cop show theme would sound like on Mars? "Sing a Simple Song" provides a clue, with its otherworldly, reverbed-conga rhythms and laser-sharp guitars.
"Ghost Walk" boasts a hardboiled groove a la Louisiana legends The Meters. The tune's chicken-scratch licks and ardent tambourine contribute to a truly sticky jam. Intended or not, it's a fine ode to the progenitors of no-frills funk.
"Aynotchesh Yererfu" features a menacing wall of brass supported by a liquid bass line and shimmering organ. Saucy horn blasts and Fela Kuti-inspired rhythms come together in a slice of deep, psychedelic soul.
Echo-treated flute and trippy percussion make "King Charles" an exercise in funky flower power. The tune wouldn't sound out of place blaring from a Haight-Ashbury crash pad.
Emphatic horn shouts and a relentless pulse drive "The Volcano Song" to early eruption, while album closer "Across the Atlantic" marries dissonance to stuttering, James Brown-style funk.
The Budos Band are sergeants-at-arms in the Afro-soul revolution. If you like your grooves served bloody raw, don't miss their Discover Jazz Festival appearance with sax legend Maceo Parker at the Waterfront Blues Tent on Thursday, June 8.