Monday, April 18, 2016

Mandrill - 1972 - Mandrill Is

Mandrill Is

01. Ape Is High
02. Cohelo
03. Git It All
04. Children Of The Sun
05. I Refuse To Smile
06. Universal Rhythms
07. Lord Of The Golden Baboon
08. Central Park
09. Kofijahm
10. Here Today Gone Tomorrow
11. The Sun Must Go Down

Claude Cave: Keyboards, Vocals
Fudgie Kae: Bass
Greg Mathieson: Piano
Omar Mesa: Guitar, Percussion, Vocals
Charles Padro: Drums, Percussion, Vocals
Carlos Wilson: Saxophone, Vocals
Lou Wilson: Percussion, Trumpet, Vocals
Ric Wilson: Saxophone

Apparently learning from the mistakes of its debut, Mandrill crafted a follow-up with fewer stylistic detours than the first record, but much more energy and greater maturity. The two singles, "Ape Is High" and "Git It All," are unhinged performances from all involved that have the sense of musical invigoration so key to a funk band -- and so sorely lacking on this band's debut. "Children of the Sun" is a somber, flute-led piece, much more assured and better-conceived than anything on its first record (it also showed how well Mandrill could've done soundtracking a blaxploitation film). The guitars are much more prominent on Mandrill Is; in fact, both "Git It All" and "Here Today Gone Tomorrow" have passages almost reminiscent of metal's heavy riffing. The first two compositions from Claude "Coffee" Cave are big successes, "Cohelo" being a traditional Latin form and "Kofijahm" a tribal funk piece. Not everything works, however: the spoken-word piece "Universal Rhythms" is a tad over-ripe, with a raft of unpoetic, pseudo-mystical nonsense over backing from an angelic choir.

Mandrill’s first three albums were recorded at Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Lady Studios in New York’s Greenwich Village.  Their reputation as a “World Music Group” and “Champions for Peace” began with their self-titled debut album, which contained the epic composition titled “Peace and Love.”

This amazing suite was performed by the group accompanied by the Symphony of the New World, an 80-piece orchestra, and a 200-voice chorus to a Standing Room Only audience at Philharmonic Hall in New York City.

Their sophomore release Mandrill Is contained the single “Get It All” and the cosmic anthem “Ape is High.”  The third album, Composite Truth, released in 1973, propelled Mandrill’s popularity around the globe with their jam-heavy funk rhythms encapsulated in the song “Fencewalk.”  Their freewheeling approach influenced peers such as Parliament-Funkadelic, Earth Wind & Fire and others.

 As their popularity grew, so did their appearances on all of the major music TV shows. Mandrill performed on both of Don Kirshner’s series, In Concert and Rock Concert.  On numerous occasions they appeared on Soul Train with Don Cornelius, Midnight Special with Wolfman Jack, Soul! with Ellis Haizlip and Like It Is with Gil Noble.

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