Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1071

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Review

The Shaolin Afronauts: Quest Under Capricorn (Freestyle)

The Shaolin Afronauts: Quest Under Capricorn (Freestyle)

9

6.2

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UK release date 16.07.2012

Carrying on from the success of their debut album, The Shaolin Afronauts once again charter their rather unique path with this cracking follow up entitled "Quest Under Capricorn." Think 1970's West Africa, Ethiopia and the pioneering and progressive avant-garde jazz artists of that same period.

Opening track "Brooklyn" sees the band in a sprightly setting with a rock steady bass groove, signature big horns and the growliest baritone ever committed to record, engrossing stuff right from the off! Afrobeat deep jazz is next with "Gayanamede Prelude," highlighting the beautiful production and arranging skills of main man Ross McHenry. Some rather choice improvising soprano sax from his jazziness Andrew Crago, over some dense arrangements which can include anything up to a nine piece horn section!!

"Winds Of Gayanamede" is up next, jacking up the highly emotional intensity of this compelling album. There's a real downtempo feel to the first part of the album and it will no doubt draw you in to their secret arcane world, especially track 5, the killer title track "Quest Under Capricorn." Yes it's 'Enter The Dragon Time' with this moody modal piece of mellifluous and majesterial magic! This is jazz music all filtered through a free jazz approach that is quite stunning - a landmark session. One of those recordings seeping through with so much power and an emotional, deep connection is felt emphatically too. This outfit ascend right here, right now on a higher plane of existence. The combustible influences that shape this album are still relevant today and SA do it with such class and panache.
Words Emrys Baird

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