Menahan Street Band – Make The Road By Walking

Somewhat of a clumsy name and title here but it’s time to take that first step on the road to some hot Brooklyn based --funk as it’s not to late to catch up with this Worldwide All-winner top 20 album.

If you think this is CD is a one-dimential album in the instrumental style of Daptone’s Sharon Jones & The Dap-kings, think again. Yes, it’s instrumental but it’s got more of a genres diversity without ever committing to just soul or funk.
A brilliant album that made Gilles Peterson’s All-winners Album Of The Year at No. 11 (just on the edge of some might albums of 2008), it’s a real grower with some sutble and mesmerising tracks, often with a cinematic feel like ‘Esma’, ‘Going The Distance’ and ‘The Contender’ al a Quiet Village but more 60′s soul than any 70′s blaxploitation movie. And the jazz has more of a of space-jazz al a Carlos Nino meets Mulatu (check Mulatu/Spaceways KPFK 90.7 FM particularly on ‘Dust To Dust’.
Standout track is ‘The Traitor’ that seems to combine in under 3 minutes all of the above mentioned styles and influences and I love ‘The Contender’ (from Rocky that matches Mexican mariachi horns with Northern Soul slowie with a Herbie Maneque flute solo. ‘Karina’ is similar and equally awesome!
This band is a collaboration of ten of the finest musicians you’ll find on Menahan Street (the album was recorded at 250 Menahan Street). With Dave Guy, Homer Steinweiss, Fernando Velez and Bosco Mann (Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Leon Michels and Toby Pazner of El Michels Affair (Leon Michels/El Michels Affair are going to be big this year, check out anything on the Truth & Soul label), Antibalas‘ Nick Movshon and Aaron Johnson with Mike Deller and Daniel Fodder of The Budos Band and masterminded by musician/producer Thomas Brenneck.
As a side project this collection of 11 tracks has been put together with love and devotion (of a different age) at it shows. Monday’s Metro gave it 3 stars out of five (and Black Britanyaa’s The Windrush Vol. 2 four stars!), personally I’d have flipped those ratings but both albums are well worth getting. As a quick aside whilst on the subject of the Metro, you might not think they’d be that up-to-date but along with these two reviews they had Leon Harris’ six tracks On My Ipod selection. I’d be tempted to put one of the tracks on The Qemists’ latest killer release ‘Dem Na Like Me‘ but that’d probably be uncool) but I’d definitely pick something from Make The Road By Walking; possibly ‘Birds’ as it’s so clever as the horns ‘sing’ so sweatly or ‘Karina’ or the influenced ‘Montego Sunset’ or the title track (that’s just come out a an excellent on the Bastard Jazz Recordings label).
Oh, let’s face it, just play the whole thing! Menahan Street the new Soulville USA.
Reviewed: Menahan Street Band – Make The Road By Walking (Dunham) Cat.No. DUN-1000/DAP-015 Release date: 14th October 2008
1 Make The Road By Walking
2 Tired Of Fighting
3 Home Again!
4 Montego Sunset
5 Karina
6 The Traitor
7 The Contender
8 Birds
9 Esma
10 Going The Distance
11 Dust To Dust.
Links: BKLYN: Heavy Sounds From The County Of Kings
Gilles Peterson :: 8 January 2009 :: All Winners 2008 – Top 20 tracks + albums of the year
20) James Pants – ‘Cosmic Rapp’ (Stones Throw) LP: Welcome
20) James Pants – ‘Cosmic Rapp’ (Stones Throw) LP: Welcome
11) Menahan Street Band – Karina (Dunham) LP: Make The Road By Walking
10) – ‘Let The Spirit’ (Big Dada) LP:
Slime & Reason

7) Flying Lotus ft Dolly – ‘RobertaFlack’ (Warp) LP: Los Angeles
6) Quiet Village – ‘Pacific Rhythm’ (K7) LP: Silent Movie
5) Benga – ‘Pleasure’ (Tempa) LP: Diaries Of An Afro-Warrior
4) – ‘Winterwind’ (Brownswood) LP: The Dreamer
3) + 80 – ‘Think Africa’ (t?¥t ou tard) LP: Think Africa
Gilles Peterson :: 9th October 2008 :: Superimposers in Session at Maida Vale
Menahan Street Band – ‘The Traitor’ – (Test)
On My iPod: Leon Harris by ZENA ALKAYAT – Metrolife Monday, January 5, 2009