Issue July 5, 2011

Taurus

Ocote Soul Sounds
ESL MUSIC

Was that last Budos Band a little repetitive? Good, but a retread of their excellent first two albums? As fun as the nu-funk movement is, it’s easy to see the end of the rainbow. The playing may stay top-notch, but the freshness has worn off; painting-by-numbers is much more prevalent. Ocote Soul Sounds, the Latin-funk collective founded by Martin Perna of Antibalas and Adrian Quesada of Grupo Fantasma, hope to keep the “play by” date current via Taurus, produced by Thievery Corporations’ Eric Hilton. “Primavera” opens the disc with an organ-thick groove that wouldn’t be out of place on one of those first Budos or El Michels Affair discs. The deep-in-the-mix vocal chorus provides the “just enough” of a quarter-turn to keep it interesting. In fact, excepting the awkward hook on “STTP (Speak Truth to Power),” the understated addition of vocals on the record is what makes it work. It’s a tasteful step to differentiate itself from the glut of bored/underemployed jazz players wanting to cash in on the funk.