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Mandrill - Mandrill Is CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.72 | 21 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Second opus from this fairly long-living NYC septet that released it with more success than their eponymous debut album. Recorded in Hendrix' Electric Ladyland studio over the 71/72 winter, it had a top 40 single to help it as well, called Get It All. Coming with moonlit Mandrill face as front artwork, and superb cosmic representation of the group on the back cover, it also comes with a cosmic black nativity artwork inside.

Aside this superb Git It All hit-track, there are some incredible tracks on Is, like Ape Is High (with its infective horn section), the outstanding Children Of The Sun (with its extra-long instrumental intro), the amazing Lord Of The Golden Baboon with its great constant evolution (if that's not prog, then I don't know what is), the cello then flute-driven Central Park (excellent arrangements), the jungle-escaped jazz-rock Kofijahm (outstanding percussion break), the joyous but guitar-heavy Here Today, Gone Tomorrow and the great finale Sun Must Go Down. You've never haerd an afro-American album like this one before and there haven't been many like these since.

Other tracks take on more Latino beats like the samba/Santana-esque Cohelo (and its lovely flute solo), while other are more soul-ish, like Refuse To Smile, the weirdest being this two-kids debate interrupted by some cosmic spirit called Universal Rhythm (sounding like Moody Blues and completely cheesy, not made for repetitive listening), but these are somewhat lesser tracks in an otherwise filled with nuggets album.

The Collectables Records label that reissues these Mandrill albums certainly do a superb job, and with such albums as Mandrill Is, or Cymande's debut album, they are unearthing some real gems in progressive ethnic music of the early 70's that didn't have War or Osibisa's chance. RUN FOR IT !!!!!

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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