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Mandrill - Live At Montreaux 2002 CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.00 | 2 ratings

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Easy Money
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
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!

Easy Money | 4/5 |


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