Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1099

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Eboni Band (Eboni Records)

Eboni Band (Eboni Records) REVIEW



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UK release date 18.06.2021

What do you get if you mix Motown with the lilting rhythms of West Africa? Easy! You get the Eboni Band's self-titled 1981 debut album…released 41 years after its original release!

Featuring Motown session musicians, the JB's trumpeter Fred Wesley and session musicians from Ivory Coast's Eboni Records, it's a potpourri of influences and on opener “Sing A Happy Song” plenty of funk is present. This Sly Stone classic gets the party started in full swing mode and is easily the best cut on this 5 track album. The old school groove is faithfully captured by Motown producer and arranger Art Stewart (Marvin Gaye, Rick James) and Greg Middleton (Marlena Shaw).

Eboni Band's music has an altogether powerful/richly historic mix that really connects people with its groove from across the African diaspora, specifically, the Ivory Coast, where The Eboni band were formed from Motown Studios alumni Gerald Theus, who set up Eboni Records. The warmth and fine musicianship these guys muster translate well too, especially when the horns and hum of Detroit and Motown vocal harmonies merge with the traditional instruments of West Africa, such as the Djembe and Kora.

This fresh sounding album includes two ballads out of five tunes, which may put the hardcore funk-heads off. However, this doesn't diminish the effect of this startling project and I imagine should in turn prove this project has legs on record store shelves.
Words Emrys Baird

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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