Review The Rhythmagic Orchestra


The birth of The Rhythmagic Orchestra takes us back to 2006 when producer Ben Lamdin of Nostagia 77 fame and Latin music spinning DJ Hugo Mendez (Sofrito) hatched a plan to see if they could recreate some of their favourite Afro-Cuban, jazz and Latin sounds of the 20th century. Over a few cheeky glasses of rum, both compiled a short list of tracks that they loved and wanted to recreate within a contemporary, cross-cultural context.

Plucked from the finest jazz and Latin-led bands including Plumstead Radical Club, the Alex Wilson Band, Jazz Jamaica and Ska Cubano, the musicians represented many years experience with innumerable jazz and Latin greats. The result of the studio session was a symphony of musical cultures that paid tribute to the giants of Afro-Cuban jazz starts such as Dizzy Gillespie, Chano Pozo and Machito.

Five years on and The Rhythmagic Orchestra have undoubtedly imprinted their musical mark on the jazz and Latin music scene. The exhilarating and hip-shaking LP opens with an instrumental take on Nina Simone’s ‘African Mailman’, a reworking that feels comfortably horizontal in its Latin American flavour, especially with its choppy piano montuno, rhythmic drive and sophisticated flute flourishing. Other than reworked versions of Machito and Kenny Durham standards, the tracks reflect the all-star project’s homage towards jazz greats as Art Blakey in ‘Sakeena’ and Horace Silver in ‘Mary Lou’. New material such as ‘Market Fish Dance’ composed by arranger and saxophonist Johnny Spall (of Nostalgia 77) seems proudly at ease alongside the jazz and Cuban classics.

Released on Lamdin’s own label, Impossible Ark Records, which also includes the likes of Sara Mitra and Jeb Loy Nichols and Skeletons, The Rhythmagic Orchestra create a fresh outlook on 50s jazz giants combining traditional arrangements with Cuban bata beats and more than a twist of Latin exoticism. A long awaited LP that will certainly not disappoint.

1. African Mailman
2. Cha Cha de Juventud
3. Tiajuana
4. Afrodisia
5. Fish Market Dance
6. Sakeena
7. Afreaka
8. Gulli Gulli
9. Mary Lou
10. Tururato
11. Manteca

Released 28th March 2011 on Impossible Ark Records.

The Rhythmagic Orchestra is available to buy from Amazon and iTunes

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