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MANDRILL

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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Mandrill biography
Mandrill was formed in Brooklyn in 1968 by three multi-instrumentalist brothers, Louis, Richard and Carlos Wilson, all of whom originally hailed from Panama. After running an ad in the Village Voice they were soon joined by Omar Mesa, Claude Cave, Charlie Padro and Bundie Cenac. Between them this seven man group could play over 20 instruments. Although often labeled a funk or RnB band, Mandrill is much more than just that. Their music combines those two genres with jazz, rock, classic Latin music, and styles of their own creation, often mixing all this together in the same song. Their albums are often composed of multi-movement songs that blend together to make a long running urban tone poem. In concert, their songs are often taken to great lengths with creative improvisations.

Although different band members have come and gone over the years, the three original brothers still remain, and they are often joined onstage by their musically talented children. Mandrill continues to tour and record to this day, inspiring many with their complex rhythms, arrangements and lyrics about spirituality, peace, love and brotherhood.

- Easy Money -


Discography:

-Mandrill (1971)
-Mandrill Is (1972)
-Composite Truth (1973)
-Just Outside of Town (1973)
-Mandrillland (1974)
-Solid (1975)
-Beast From the East (1975)
-Best Of (1975)
-We Are One (1977)
-New Worlds (1978)
-Getting in the Mood (1980)
-Fencewalk: The Anthology (1997)
-Ultimate Collection (2000)
-Mandrill Live @ Montreaux (2002) CD
-Mandrill Live @ Montraux (2002) DVD



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Buy MANDRILL Music


Fencewalk: AnthologyFencewalk: Anthology
Fontana Polydor 1997
Audio CD$12.52
$11.50 (used)
Best ofBest of
Fontana Polydor 1990
Audio CD$4.85
$3.74 (used)
MandrillMandrill
Collectables 1998
Audio CD$11.99
$8.77 (used)
New Worlds / Getting in the MoodNew Worlds / Getting in the Mood
Import
Soul Bros Pure Jazz 2009
Audio CD$10.94
$22.81 (used)
We Are OneWe Are One
Import
Cherry Red UK 2013
Audio CD$7.89
$6.26 (used)
Mandrill - Live at Montreux Jazz Festival 2002Mandrill - Live at Montreux Jazz Festival 2002
Wilson Bros./Kindred Rhythm 2012
DVD$178.94 (used)
Just Outside of TownJust Outside of Town
Collectables 1998
Audio CD$172.13
$39.98 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Mandrill 70s SOUL DJ 45 Love Song US $11.98 Buy It Now 7h 25m
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MANDRILL - Beast from the East LP 1975 VG+ FUNK SOUL UA-LA577-G US $11.57 Buy It Now 11h 24m
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v/a NOW EXPLOSION-FOUR TOPS/IAN THOMAS/MANDRILL/ALBERT HAMMOND/WAR/ETC VG+/VG LP US $8.98 Buy It Now 13h 19m
Barbara Mandrill CASSETTE NEW I'll Be Your Jukebox Tonight US $15.00 Buy It Now 13h 54m
1977 White Label Promo Funk 45 Mandrill Can You Get It (Suzie Caesar) AS 0304 US $9.99 Buy It Now 14h 17m
MANDRILL - THE ROAD TO LOVE - 1974 EX PROMO SOUL FUNK 45 US $3.50 [0 bids]
15h 13m
MANDRILL Composite Truth LP 1972 Afro-Cuban FUNK Gatefold US $21.00 Buy It Now 15h 52m
MANDRILL self-titled POLYDORE LP 24-4050 US $15.00 Buy It Now 15h 52m
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LP MANDRILL IS 1972 POLYDOR ORIG PRESS SEALED MINT US $59.98 Buy It Now 19h 47m
MICHAEL MASSER AND MANDRILL ALI BOM BA YE I AND 11 1977 ARISTA A1 EX+ VINYL 12" US $13.80 Buy It Now 1 day
MANDRILL-FENCEWALK; THE ANTHOLOGY CD NEW US $18.34 Buy It Now 1 day
MANDRILL LP VINYL JUST OUT SIDE OF TOWN 1973 INSERT NEAR MINT RARE STICKER US $13.38 Buy It Now 1 day
MANDRILL Never Die Polydor 70s Soul 45 HEAR US $5.99 [1 bids]
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MANDRILL MANDRILLAND Original 1974 Gatefold 2 Records in Shrink Rap - REDUCED! US $10.00 [0 bids]
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Mandrill JUST OUTSIDE OF TOWN Orig 1973 Record with Original Booklet-REDUCED! US $10.00 [0 bids]
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Mandrill SOLID Original United Artists Record with Original Sleeve - REDUCED! US $10.00 [0 bids]
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James Brown, Temptations, Curtis Mayfield, Mandrill, War, Slave SEALED U.S. 2 cd US $13.98 Buy It Now 1 day
THE MORNING SIDE OF LOVE VOL 2 GROOVE EDDIE HARRIS ROY AYERS MANDRILL IRMA 3LP US $24.99 Buy It Now 1 day
MANDRILL-SOLID-SOUL FUNK LP on UA US $30.00 Buy It Now 1 day
MANDRILL-ENERGIZE-SOUL LP on MONTAGE US $30.00 Buy It Now 1 day
MANDRILL We Are One 1977 SEALED CASSETTE Arista funk soul US $4.99 [0 bids]
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MANDRILL: Funky Monkey / Mono (soul vinyl 45) US $8.00 Buy It Now 1 day
WE ARE ONE // MANDRILL 1977 ARISTA LP AB4144 US $8.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Still Sealed MANDRILL Solid LP Soul/ Funk Classic Original United Artists 1975 US $29.00 Buy It Now 1 day
FLAMING EMBER Sunshine LP Hot Wax 1971 PROG ROCK Mandrill Herbie Hancock VG/VG US $4.99 [0 bids]
1 day
MANDRILL-Peace And Love-AFRO-FUNK ROCK-Carlos Wilson-CHUTNEY-We Are One-MORE-EP US $6.99 Buy It Now 1 day
MANDRILL Honey Butt 1975 United Artists SPECIAL DISCO EP RARE SHRINK US $19.99 [1 bids]
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MANDRILL - COMPOSITE TRUTH "SEALED" 8 TRACK TAPE US $15.13 Buy It Now 1 day
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1973 COLOMBIA FUNK SOUL LP JEAN KNIGHT JAMES BROWN MANDRILL JOE TEX ERIC BURDON US $8.00 [0 bids]
1 day
MANDRILL**FENCEWALK: ANTHOLOGY**CD US $24.92 Buy It Now 2 days
MANDRILL LP Solid UNITED ARTISTS Funk STILL SEALED Original 1975 US $25.95 Buy It Now 2 days
MANDRILL Getting In The Mood LP 1980 US Mint funk soul US $9.99 [1 bids]
2 days
MANDRILL Composite Truth LP SEALED Funk Vinyl Breaks Samples Kool US $12.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Mandrill - New Worlds/Getting In The Mood - CDSBPJ38 US $18.56 Buy It Now 2 days
MANDRILL is ( r&b ) - WHITE LABEL PROMO - sticker - US $19.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Fencewalk: The Anthology by Mandrill (1997, 2 Discs, Polydor) CDs US $17.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Soul Nm! 45 MANDRILL Positive Thing on Polydor US $5.00 Buy It Now 2 days
Mandrill 7" 45 PICTURE SLEEVE ONLY Positive Thing POLYDOR US $10.00 Buy It Now 2 days
MANDRILL Energize C20Y0042 LP Am2102 US $7.99 [0 bids]
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MANDRILL US $7.99 [0 bids]
US $12.99 Buy It Now
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SOUL 45: Mandrill Holiday/Can you get it modern soul on Arista US $3.95 [0 bids]
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MANDRILL // New Worlds / ORIGINAL 1978 US LP SEALED / Mint-! US $26.98 Buy It Now 2 days
MANDRILL S/T LP NEW SEALED VINYL FUNK DEBUT US $13.66 Buy It Now 2 days
MANDRILL Getting In The Mood 1980 ARISTA AL 9527 USA EX 33rpm SOUL/FUNK US $12.95 Buy It Now 2 days
ARISTA MANDRILL CAN YOU GET IT / HOLIDAY SOUL FUNK BOOGIE 45rpm RECORD US $0.99 [0 bids]
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MANDRILL - WE ARE ONE - 1977 Arista US $4.99 [0 bids]
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MANDRILL New Worlds PROMO with Inner Sleeve on Arista 4195 US $3.99 Buy It Now 2 days
MANDRILL Is LP EX- US 1972 LATIN FUNK SOUL GATEFOLD JACKET US $9.98 [0 bids]
2 days
MANDRILL - FENCEWALK: ANTHOLOGY NEW CD US $36.43 Buy It Now 3 days
Mandrill~Original US LP Solid Funk Psyche Jazz VG+ 1975 US $12.98 Buy It Now 3 days
Mandrill - Fencewalk-Anthology CD US $31.89 Buy It Now 3 days
1972 MANDRILL POLYDOR Composite Truth LATIN AFRO-CUBAN FUNK SOUL US $14.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Hear! Funk Promo 45 Mandrill - Tee Vee / Same On United Artists (Promo) US $15.00 Buy It Now 3 days
Mandrill Funk Soul Vinyl Record US $4.00 [0 bids]
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The Best of Mandrill by Mandrill (CD, Jul-1994, Polydor) US $3.99 [0 bids]
3 days
The Best of Montage Records W/L.T.D.,Mandrill,Cecil Parker,Rose Royce. US $8.95 [0 bids]
3 days
MANDRILL Panama 7" Demo B/w Disco Lypso UK United Artists 1975 US $8.22 Buy It Now 3 days
MANDRILL: New Worlds LP (inner, promo tobc, sl cw, corner bend, cut corner, w/ US $25.00 Buy It Now 3 days
MANDRILL - MANDRILL - POLYDOR (FUNK/SOUL - SEALED REISSUE LP) US $13.00 Buy It Now 3 days
MANDRILL LP Eponymous (PROMO) US $17.99 [0 bids]
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Mandrill - Fencewalk; The Anthology NEW CD US $20.79 Buy It Now 3 days
MANDRILL: Beast From The East (R&B, Soul & Funk United Artists UA-LA577-G LP) US $4.94 [0 bids]
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MANDRILL: Self Titled (R&B, Soul & Funk Polydor 2425-049 Vinyl LP) US $4.94 [0 bids]
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MANDRILL - MANDRILL - R&B SOUL ROCK MUSIC LP US $22.49 Buy It Now 3 days
MANDRILL 12" Solid LP 1975 Funk Vinyl Breaks US $8.63 Buy It Now 3 days
E3967 / LP / mandrill - composite truth / USA ORIGINAL / GATEFOLD / GROOVY US $9.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Jeff Perry:Love don't come no stranger/Mandrill:Too Late:Soul Re-issue US $31.36 Buy It Now 3 days
Best Of Mandrill 0042283527621, CD, BRAND NEW FREE P&H US $17.47 Buy It Now 3 days
MANDRILL - LP - GETTING IN THE MOOD US $16.49 Buy It Now 3 days
MICHAEL MASSER AND MANDRILL Ali Bom Ba Ye 12" 2 Track Part 1 B/w Part 2 UK Aris US $8.22 Buy It Now 4 days
Mandrill "Is" vinyl LP RARE promo WLP Polydor 1972 #PD-5025 funk soul EX vinyl US $24.55 Buy It Now 4 days
Mandrill-Mandrill 7" 45 US $15.60 Buy It Now 4 days
MANDRILL - Is ~ GATEFOLD VINYL LP US $28.20 Buy It Now 4 days
MICHAEL MASSEL & MANDRILL ALI BOMBAYE 45 US $21.49 Buy It Now 4 days
MANDRILL Is 1972 STEREO Polydor #5025 LP early FM underground favorite US $14.99 Buy It Now 4 days
Michael Masser & Mandrill Ali Bom-ba Ye Ii LP Arista US $5.24 Buy It Now 4 days
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Soul 45 MANDRILL POLK STREET CARNIVAL / HANG LOOSE on Polydor US $5.00 Buy It Now 4 days
MANDRILL: Composite Truth LP,( promotion copy not for sale ) US $9.00 [0 bids]
US $12.99 Buy It Now
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MANDRILL - "MANGO MEAT" (POLYDOR PD 14200) YEAR: 1973 US $9.99 [0 bids]
4 days
Michael Masser,Mandrill,George Benson,Muhmmad Ali: The Greatest. '77 Arista US $9.39 Buy It Now 4 days
Mandrill New World w/ Don't Stop / Too Late / Stay Tonite / Mean Streets LP US $4.99 Buy It Now 4 days
Mandrill ?- Mandrilland 2LP 1974 POLYDOR gatefold US $19.80 Buy It Now 4 days
MANDRILL: Holiday / Mono (soul vinyl 45) US $8.00 Buy It Now 4 days

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MANDRILL shows & tickets


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MANDRILL discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

MANDRILL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.05 | 13 ratings
Mandrill
1970
4.00 | 10 ratings
Mandrill Is
1972
3.96 | 6 ratings
Composite Truth
1973
3.13 | 5 ratings
Just Outside Of Town
1973
4.00 | 4 ratings
Mandrilland
1974
3.10 | 2 ratings
Solid
1975
3.10 | 2 ratings
Beast From The East
1976
3.00 | 2 ratings
We Are One
1977
2.00 | 1 ratings
New Worlds
1978
1.00 | 2 ratings
Getting In The Mood
1980
3.00 | 2 ratings
Energize
1982
0.00 | 0 ratings
D.W.B.B.
2000

MANDRILL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Live At Montreaux 2002
2004

MANDRILL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Live at Montreux 2002
2006

MANDRILL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
The Best Of Mandrill
1974
3.50 | 2 ratings
Fencewalk: The Anthology
1997

MANDRILL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

MANDRILL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Mandrill by MANDRILL album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.05 | 13 ratings

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Mandrill
Mandrill Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by PROGMAN1

5 stars According to the liner notes, this album was recorded in the winter of 1970. This is fairly astounding given the fact that it would make this one of the earliest (if not the first ever) incidence of a side-long, multi-movement, progressive rock suite. The piece in question being side two's Peace and Love (Amani Na Mapenzi) clocking in at over seventeen minutes. As for what it sounds like, it is quite advanced for 1970 to be sure, including many styles of music from symphonic to African to jazz to Latin, even a touch of the avant-garde and Mellotron! As mentioned in previous reviews, the sparse lyrics are a powerful Vietnam war-era statement of biblical proportions. To be sure, the band's general approach was not of side-long symphonic rock suites, though on later albums it was not unusual for them to use odd time signatures and compose long-ish multi-movement rock pieces. The prog fan will find at least one piece on each of their first 5 albums to satisfy that prog itch. Given the date of this, their debut album, and the phenomenal side long suite, this is a solid 4.5 stars leaning toward 5. Side one opens with the eponymous rocker Mandrill, a Latin rock scorcher as great as Santana ever composed. The side is rounded out with Warning Blues, Symphonic Revolution and Rollin' On. Warning Blues is mainly an up-tempo blues rock piece with interesting breaks but fairly typical of the era. Symphonic Revolution is a mellow piece with excellent, atmospheric flute and organ playing by Carlos Wilson and Claude Cave respectively. These two musicians are quite exceptional but then the strength of Mandrill lies in the skill of all the musicians.

The guitarist, Omar Mesa is truly unsung and embodies the lyricism and feel of the most elite guitarists of the prog era. Yes, he is that great. The three brothers who play the wind instruments rival the best horn sections of the era including Tower of Power, Chicago and B, S & T. The rhythm section of Neftali Santiago and Fudgie Kae which eventually became the classic rhythm section of Mandrill are phenomenally tight through the acrobatic, complex unison lines and rhythmic changes occurring in many of their songs. All things considered; even though Mandrill are not a typical prog band like Yes or Genesis, there is plenty of fantastic music, some of which is prog, for the exquisite enjoyment of the eclectic prog fan.

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 The Best Of Mandrill by MANDRILL album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1974
3.00 | 1 ratings

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The Best Of Mandrill
Mandrill Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Gooner
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars A great intro and maybe an outro for the group Mandrill. It might be all of the Mandrill you will ever need. Similar to the works of Santana, War, Malo, Tower Of Power, Cymande, early-Osibisa and Chase. Slightly more on the funk side of things, though. Not unlike Funkadelic musically (but without the buzzed out George Clinton circus/sideshow) This compilation kicks it off with their 2 best known tracks in "Ape Is High" and "Fencewalk". Recommended for fans of jazz/rock fusion and funk. For the actual albums, I recommend the first, second and third Mandrill recordings.

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 Getting In The Mood by MANDRILL album cover Studio Album, 1980
1.00 | 2 ratings

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Getting In The Mood
Mandrill Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

1 stars Unlike their previous album, this scandalous piece of crap was not hiding behind a deceptive artwork and title, and we have a disgusting disco album in all its splendour aptly/badly named Getting' Into The Mood (for puking, maybe???). Not that Mandrill was doing worse than groups like EW&F, K&tG or Chic, but we arte a far cry from their early superb works. Grandeur et decadence: a textbook case.

Just read my review of their preceding album and multiply the negative traits and multiply by five and you've got an idea how bad this album is. Sure with the years and decades having gone by, this type of dance music sounds almost listenable, but it is only because the 80's & 90's dance scene stinks some 20 times worse than the disco fad did. Avoid at all costs: if I took the time to write this review, it's so you avoid such bad moves. All remunerative thanks for my precious time-sacrifice can be forwarded to me via the PA admins. Don't forget to be generous, even if I only rented the album, and returned it with a nice lump of dung spread of the each side's grooves.

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 New Worlds by MANDRILL album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.00 | 1 ratings

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New Worlds
Mandrill Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

— First review of this album —
2 stars Despite its "prog artwork" cover and hope-inducing album title, New Worlds was anything but proggy despite some tracks being technically impressive funk, but on the whole the album is a big deception for demanding music fans. Mandrill, like most other US "coloured groups" (can't really call them "black", since there are Latino/Puerto-Ricans in their ranks), they fell in the disco trap that engulfed many decent funk groups like Earth Wind & Fire, Kool & The Gang (listen to their early 70's stuff to see how proggy they were) and many others, they happily obliged to follow the example of Chic's mix of sometimes-excellent super-funk and downright disgusting binary-disco ala Donna Summer etc? The only groups resisting that trend was WAR and Clinton's Funkadelic.

Sure, there are remains of the former Mandrill with some (few) good tracks, (there is even one with a decent flute intervention) but the album is mostly filled of soul/Motown ballads (the opening Too Late & When You Smile) filled with those luscious Philadelphia-based string arrangements (instead of mellotrons), some ultra-funk but disco-ing tracks (Mean Streets, Love Attack & Stay Tonite) with typical horn section but often marred with an horrible binary disco beat (which is an oxymoron with good funk, if you ask me) and downright-awful straight disco tracks (Don't Stop & Easy Loving You). There is even a Latino/Bossa track (Third World Girl), but it only brings the listener to more regrets of what the group became.

When I speak of this binary rhythm, I am mostly thinking of the 1-2 tempos invented for the most hopeless and sorriest excuses of dancing white males to get them too boogie on a dance floor), but in Mandrill and Chic's case, this basic rhythm is often deceptively simple, because behind that beat is often a lot more complex rhythm than it appears at first glance:audition. In any case, certainly not Mandrill's best works, and better avoided unless you actually like the 70's disco scene. And I'm certainly not one of them, although I'll round this album's rating to the upper star.

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 Mandrill Is by MANDRILL album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.00 | 10 ratings

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Mandrill Is
Mandrill Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Second album of possibly most progressive funk band from early 70-s. With new bassist, band recorded that album with more jazz-rock elements, including some heavy guitar riffing. Still heavily based on funk, the album includes r'n'b, jazz-rock and Latin jazz almost in equal proportions. Plus some blues and psychedelia.

Compositions varies from Santana-like Latin percussion filled nice sambas, to heavy Brooklyn funk, to early jazz-rock guitar -led pieces. But main ingredient is Wilson brothers brass trio, all other sounds are just turning around.

Differently from other more straightforward funk bands of their time, Mandrill music is build far not only around rhythm. Nice melodies, some experimental (to time) sounds and constructions. Not everything goes successfully there: some speaking vocals or lightweight danceable rhythms don't add too much for band's mix.

But in whole, I believe this album is really interesting and successful evidence of progressive funk searches in early 70-s.

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 Mandrill by MANDRILL album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.05 | 13 ratings

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Mandrill
Mandrill Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by js (Easy Money)
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

4 stars Progressive Rock with an African flavor. I can remember the first time I saw Mandrill on TV back in the early 70s; I was totally captured, not only by the music, but by the colorful appearance of this ensemble and the incredible number of instruments they could play. Early Mandrill was always an extended exotic fantasy of sprawling progressive arrangements featuring horns, percussion, screaming guitar solos, quiet mysterious flute passages, virtuoso keyboards and massive vocal choirs. This being Mandrill's first record, it is probably their most progressive and ambitious, but it is also the one that belongs the most with the time period from which it came.

Side two is probably the side of most interest to the prog-rock crowd with it's side long five movement 'Peace and Love'. This is late 60s/early 70s grandiose musical vision at it's most excessive as the Mandrill crew takes on almost any musical style imaginable from dark and gothic mystery to bright optimistic world jazz. The lyrics don't hold back either as Mandrill unfolds a tale of Biblical proportions that deals with love, peace, the future of mankind and other unfathomable mysteries. This side sounded incredible back in the day, but I'm not sure if it has aged well into the new century. If you take this music as a reflection of the time period in which it was created, then there is much to enjoy here.

If dated hippie pretensions undermine the lofty ambitions of the 'proggy' side two, side one is still one hundred percent right on with it's more streetwise mix of funk, jazz, soul, rock and world beat. Signature tune 'Mandrill' kicks things off with some energetic Afro-Latin rock that may remind some of Santana. Another highlight of this side, 'Symphonic Revolution', is the perfect Sunday afternoon jam with it's mellow mix of jazz, soul, strings and soaring vocal harmonies. It sounds like early Earth Wind & Fire might have gotten some inspiration from this one.

Once a landmark album, the ravages of time have made parts of this album seem a bit kitschy and excessive, yet if you like late 60s/early 70s culture and progressive African hippie music, it does not get any better than this.

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 Live at Montreux 2002 by MANDRILL album cover DVD/Video, 2006
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Live at Montreux 2002
Mandrill Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by js (Easy Money)
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

— First review of this album —
4 stars As much as I enjoy the CD of this high energy concert, Mandrill is an act that has to be seen to be fully appreciated. They don't put on a phony 'show', display rehearsed steps or use props or costume changes. Instead they stand and deliver an ultra tight mix of African fusion, Latin jazz, psychedelic rock and American funk tied together with 70s styled progressive arrangements. It's fascinating to watch the many multi-instrumentalists in this group switch the make-up of their band from a big rock horn section to a massive percussion ensemble to five part vocal harmonies and whatever else a song may call for. Although the rhythm section stays put throughout, the other members of Mandrill play a dizzying variety of horns, percussion and strings, and they can all sing with the best harmonizing bands in the business.

Not only do you get the 2002 concert in Montreux on this DVD, but you also get interviews, some behind the scenes action and a bonus concert shot in Philadelphia. It's the concert in Philly that I found to be the most interesting bonus feature. Mandrill has played a wide variety of music in their lengthy career, although their albums often feature lengthy fusion 'suites', they have also been known to score the occasional 'hit' on the RnB and funk charts too. Judging from the two concerts presented on this DVD, Mandrill definitely adjusts their show for their audience. While playing for the older international jazz crowd in Montreux, Mandrill is on their best most progressive world jazz behavior. Once back in the states though, in front of a younger club crowd in Philly, you get a version of Mandrill that not only funks much harder , but also rocks much harder as well. This is the P-funk version of Mandrill, and it is fun seeing these older musical veterans get the crowd on their feet with crazy syncopated horn lines and screaming guitar solos.

I don't normally watch concerts on TV, but because of Mandrill's never boring arrangements, virtuoso musicality and constantly shifting instrumental make-up , I found this DVD to be muchos fun from start to finish.

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 Live At Montreaux 2002 by MANDRILL album cover Live, 2004
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Live At Montreaux 2002
Mandrill Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by js (Easy Money)
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

— First review of this album —
4 stars The Beast from the East is back! Not only is Mandrill back, but they sound better than ever, or at least the best they have sounded since their heyday in the early 70s. Like a lot of progressive bands that came up in the late 60s and early 70s, Mandrill had to switch to a more commercial sound in the late 70s, and finally disbanded in the mid 80s. A lot happened in the world of music before Mandrill reunited in time for the new century. The rise in popularity of World Beat and the American jam band scene put Mandrill's lengthy international compositions and improvisations back on the cutting edge of modern music once again.

Unlike some rather sad acts from the 70s who try to come back while obviously not firing on all six, Mandrill is in top form on this live CD. The complicated arrangements, the big jazz-orchestral sound, and the fiery improvisations all sound like young men in their prime, not aging wannabes grasping for some faded glory.

All the musical styles you would expect from classic Mandrill are here: African fusion, Latin jazz, heavy psychedelic rock, classic 70s soul, and even one hyper gospel meltdown. All these styles are framed with complicated progressive arrangements that have you guessing what is coming next. Some possible musical references might include early Santana, early Chicago, Osibisa, 70s Frank Zappa and early Funkadelic, back when they were a proggy psychedelic rock band.

If I had one complaint about this album it would be how quickly things seem to change around in their arrangements. Although they do hit some nice grooves and allow the soloists to go off, sometimes I miss that 70s approach when people seemed to have all the time in the world on their hands and solos would go through a multitude of moods and volume changes before passing hands. There is one classic early 70s 'Mandrill moment' in the first song when a charging B3 solo gives way to a quiet and mysterious flute soliloquy , this is the Mandrill I remember from my youth.

It's great knowing Mandrill is back and sounding as strong as ever, if you want aggressive world beat with searing heavy rock guitar and lots of early 70s progressive sensibilities . check this out!

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 Beast From The East by MANDRILL album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.10 | 2 ratings

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Beast From The East
Mandrill Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by js (Easy Money)
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars Like most progressive bands with roots in the late 60s and early 70s, Mandrill found themselves becoming increasingly commercial as the 70s wore on. Beast from the East is a fairly commercial album with a disco undertone, but to Mandrill's credit this album shows that they hadn't lost much in important areas such as instrumental and vocal skills, creativity, artistic integrity and the ability to put out great interesting music within a more confining commercial space. Groove music from this era was expected to have that steady disco kick drum thud on every downbeat, but Mandrill does a great job of turning to African highlife, Latin rock, Calypso, blaxploitation soundtracks and good old American hard funk to dress up this repetitious beat and keep it interesting.

At the very end of the album Mandrill gives us a taste of their more progressive past with two excellent instrumentals. Aqua Magic opens with cascading piano arpeggios from keyboard virtuoso Claude Cave, then the woodwinds break into an ancient melody before the band kicks into a hard Latin groove that rivals early Santana. A semi-classical keyboard section interrupts their rampage before the band is off again, this time topped by a jazzy dissonant flute solo. These guys can play! The album closes with a mournful space/lounge jazz tune with a cool 'futuristic' exotic synthesizer melody.

Although this album shows Mandrill heading further from their progressive roots, it is nice to hear that they were able to get with the thump-thump-thump 70s in a way that was creative, intelligent and not damaging to their artistic integrity. If you like IDM from the 70s, then you might dig this somewhat commercial, but very high quality effort from Mandrill.

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 Solid by MANDRILL album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.10 | 2 ratings

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Solid
Mandrill Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by js (Easy Money)
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars As Mandrill moved from the early 70s to the middle of the decade, their lengthy 'jazz odysseys' were being shortened a bit, but on Solid, Mandrill still presents a few lengthy compositions as well as their usual vast smorgasbord of styles including funk, Latin jazz, African soundtracks, 70s brass-rock, psychedelia and jazzy orchestrated soul music. Just as classic progressive rock bands began to decline in the mid-70s, a new generation of progressive funk and RnB bands such as Funkadelic and Earth Wind & Fire were having a revitalizing effect on Mandrill and many others as well. Some other bands you might hear influencing this album include Santana, War, Isaac Hayes, Chicago's 1st album and mid-70s Frank Zappa.

This really isn't 'prog-rock' per se, but I know a lot of you who get into 'proggy' funk and RnB, plus a big dose of proto-world beat jazzy fusion African rock could dig this really fun and never boring album that features one of the very best and most versatile bands ever. In an ongoing testament to their love of music and creativity in general, Mandrill continues to record and tour to this day.

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