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Tonton Macoute - Tonton Macoute CD (album) cover


Tonton Macoute


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.92 | 89 ratings

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Psychedelic Paul
5 stars TONTON MACOUTE were a short-lived British Jazz-Rock band, previously known as Windmill. Tonton Macoute were bizarrely named after the paramilitary death squad created by "Papa Doc" Duvalier in Haiti in 1959. Their one and only self-titled album released in 1971 contained seven tracks, and featured an album cover that was just as bizarre as their name. Let's step into the intriguing and mysterious world of Tonton Macoute now and give this curious one-of-a-kind album a listen.

There's a pleasantly pastoral fluty opening to "Just Like Stone", which turns out to be a real gem of a song because this is just a prelude to a lively outburst of pounding and percussive Jazz-Rock which sounds as hard and solid as stone. This is powerful Jazz- Rock with an attitude that kicks like a mule. There's more jumping, jiving and gyrating Jazz-Rock on the way with "Don't Make Me Cry", a wonderful eight long minutes of soaring saxophone, flirtatious flute, hard-driving bass-lines and stunning piano and organ interplay. This Jazz is as cool as an air conditioner on full power! We're migrating southwards now with "Flying South in Winter" which has something of a mystical Arabian snake-charmer feel to it. This is exotic music for rocking away to down at the Egyptian kasbah whilst puffing away on a hookah pipe, or if you're on a tight budget, listening to down at your local Middle- Eastern-themed restaurant.

It's all aboard the Magic Bus now for "Dreams", the stunning highlight of the album. This is the kind of wild and carefree sun- drenched psychedelia that sweet dreams are made of. You can float along on a magic carpet ride of flower-power love and hippyish 1960's grooviness to this absolutely fabulous music. It's back to basics next for "You Make My Jelly Roll", a lively Blues- Rock number with a title which is presumably a reference to Jazz legend Jelly Roll Morton. The song features some masterful improvisational soloing from the dynamic saxophonist. The music won't have you jumping and jiving, because this is the kind of cool and sophisticated Jazz you might expect to hear in a salubrious up-market cocktail lounge whilst sipping on a dry martini on the rocks - shaken not stirred. If you're not already on a natural high from listening to the great music on this album, you'll be flying high as a kite (not literally) after hearing the final two-part song, "Natural High". It's a complex 11-minute arrangement, featuring an invigorating improvisational free-for-all from the wild vocalist and musicians. This is where the band really get to let their hair down and strut their stuff in a spectacular Jazz-Rock freak-out.

Tonton Macoute have really excelled with this barn-storming 50-year-old blast from the past. This stunningly-powerful one-off album represents a timeless Jazz-Rock masterpiece that sounds just as good today as it ever did. Tonton Macoute might have a bizarre name, but they really know how to deliver a resonant refrain.

Psychedelic Paul | 5/5 |


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