Perhaps it was because The Simonsound were in session (see album review HERE and interview with Simon HERE) that I missed Michael Leonhart & The Avramina 7′s ‘Jaipur’ on Gilles Peterson’s show a while back.
Thankfully, my friends at Phonica told me, if you like “The World Ends: Afro Rock & Psychedelia In 1970s Nigeria with a West Coast twist via Bollywood, you’ll like Seahorse And The Storyteller“.
Peterson followers will know that his British Jazz compilation Impressed featured Joe Harriot/Amancio D’ Silva’s ‘Jaipur’ and this version is more in a El Michels Affair vain. Which isn’t a great surprise as trumpeter Leonhart has 50+ credits on Truth & Soul Records in one form or another.
And whilst El Michels Affair are very East Coast (last year El Michels Affair released their fanatastic re-interpretation of Wu-Tang’s Enter The 37th Chamber and the Truth & Soul label having a big hit with Lee Fields’ My World), Seahorse And The Storyteller has loads of Californian cosmic love that covers all things Carlos Ni?±o (who also happens to be a big fan of Donovan and The Beatles).
So don’t be put off by the press to this album who puts it alongside “artists like The Beatles, Donovan and The Byrds” and as a “modern, kaleidoscopic opera that tells the story of two mythical creatures”. O.K, but what we can agree on is that Michael Leonhart & The Avramina 7 create a unique sound that is reminiscent of artists like Boolywood’s R.D. Burman, Fela Kuti and The Funkees.
The album starts off a little gingerly with the title track and ‘Have You Met Martina?’ and whilst ‘Madhouse Mumbai’ is a bit querky, ‘Dr. Killjoy’ and ‘Jaipur’ prove a turning point so, even though it sounds far fetched, by the time you get to the closing track, ‘Here Comes The Dragonfish’ you’ll be singing along as if you were a founder member of the Polyphonic Spree!
I bet these guys are great live and it’s a shame they’re not going to be at the Big Chill this year as they would be ideal on a hot and sunny afternoon; even if we don’t know what an Avramina is!
28 July 2010 21:00 Terminal 5 New York
04 Aug 2010 18:30 Mercury Lounge New York www.mercuryloungenyc.com/event/4951
15 Aug 2010 16:30 East River State Park Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
Reviewed: Michael Leonhart & The Avramina 7 – Seahorse And The Storyteller (Truth & Soul) Cat. No. TSCD009 Release date: April 2010
1 Seahorse And The Storyteller (3:49)
2 Have You Met Martina? (3:05)
3 Scopolamine (3:59)
4 Gold Fever (3:55)
5 The Story Of Echo Lake (4:55)
6 Dr. Killjoy (3:02)
7 Jaipur (3:57)
8 Madhouse Mumbai (3:45)
9 Dreams Of An Aquarian (3:21)
10 Avramina Comes Up From The Deep (1:59)
11 Shh.. They’re Sleeping (2:13)
12 Here Comes The Dragonfish (4:10)
BBC Radio 1 Gilles Peterson 26th May 2010 The Simonsound In Session From Maida Vale www.bbc.co.uk
The Simonsound — Baker’s Dozen
In session at Maida Vale The Simonsound — Just Begun/Tour De Mars
In session at Maida Vale The Simonsound — Lunar Ascent
First Word The Simonsound — Between The Wake And The Sleep
In session at Maida Vale Michael Leonhart and the Avramina 7 — Jaipur (Truth & Soul)