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Tonton Macoute - Tonton Macoute CD (album) cover


Tonton Macoute


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.83 | 79 ratings

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4 stars Everybody's got their favourite obscure prog-rock band that should have been huge ... and I came to this album with pretty high expectations after reading some rave reviews. I can't really say that Tonton Macoute deserve all the accolades, but they certainly merit far more attention that they received. The sole Tonton Macoute album (which came out in 1971) is an occasionally dazzling, feel-good jazzy prog effort in the vein of mid-period Traffic. Indeed, as if emulating Steve Winwood and Chris Wood, the main instruments are the electric piano of Paul French and the flute and sax of Dave Knowles (the pair share vocals too).

Every track is enjoyable as this album just flows by effortlessly. Just Like Stone is pretty darned good, but it's Don't Make Me Cry that really has it all ... a lengthy brash sax solo dominates its opening before the ethereal, heavily distorted vocals take over, sparkling electric piano moments follow and then a delicate flute solo from Knowles dominates before French returns on vibes and deals the final blow with a top-notch acoustic piano solo. Another real highlight is the two-part closer Natural High, which sees French switch to organ and he and Knowles really turn in a jazz-rock tour de force that calls to mind some of Colosseum's best moments ... also look out for the huge chunk of classical piano lifted off a legendary composer!

On occasion, such as the lengthy instrumental Flying South In Winter, the intensity of this album and my attraction to it wanes a little, but whenever I find myself beginning to doubt, Tonton Macoute hit back with aplomb. The surpring darkness of Dreams (which sees a change of instrumentation with bassist Chris Gavin picking up the guitar, and French on the vibes) is well-timed to jerk any listener out of any creeping apathy. There are pieces like You Make My Jelly Roll which will only appeal to fans of jazz, but really this album is one of the more light-hearted ouvres in prog, and should be appreciated as such. ... 70% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 4/5 |


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