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Friday, June 17, 2016

CD Review: Mac Gollehon & The Hispanic Mechanics

(Review by Steve T)
This is Mac Gollehon’s ninth album as a leader, but his list of guest credits is a veritable who's who of pop and disco, from the mildly impressive Chic and Rick James to the not at all impressive (to these ears): Duran Duran, Blondie and Mick Jagger. There's also a number of Latin artists, none of whom I've heard of and he's worked with a good Bowie and another, but I'll leave the reader guessing who they are and which is which.
The music is described as 'ground-breaking...a uniquely fresh and innovative...mix of jazz, blues and funk' but should also add hip-hop, Afro-beat, Latin, and soca, and expand on the term Jazz.
Everything seems thrown at the first track which ends up a mess with the second track even worse, but stick with it and track three delivers a coherent sound at last, his trumpet leading something reminiscent of seventies Jazz Funk just before its collapse into smooth Jazz, but with elements of hip hop, a recurring theme and one of the most effective in its understatement; no lengthy, bad taste raps here.
Elegancia is vintage Roy Ayers, complete with sampling, and there's even some scratching on Obscuridad but Amor Tragico is a Euro pop too far and an album low.
I'm not sure what the point is of an alternative version of the opening track but there's a fine closer featuring muted horn, which brings the whole thing back to you know who - well he is a trumpet player - giving a sense that late Miles Doo Bop via Tutu has been underpinning the whole thing.
The album opener makes more sense on second play as a kind of statement of intent, but some may find the albums' claim of a 'successful marriage of styles' more a weakness, with diluted versions of its various parts spread too thin. Overall it feels like a compilation album although compilations generally have more stylistic consistency, but there's some good music to be found and it's fun for all the family.
Currently available on True Groove Records.
Steve T.
Mac Gollehon, Tomás Doncker (Elegancia), Tina Torres, Miguel Valdez, Josh David (vocals); Mac Gollehon (Trumpet & Trombone); Miguel Valdez, Baba Don, Ronnie Roc (Percussion); Mike Griot (Bass); Tomás Doncker (Guitars); Afrikan Sciences (Eric Porter) (DJ).

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