Gollehon brings all the influences of Jazz, Salsa, Blues and Funk to bear. But what Gollehon delivers here is bone-crushing Latin Funk. Pure and simple. Well, maybe not so simple. It is like the love child of Chemical Brothers and Tito Puente.
Mac Gollehon performs on trumpet, trombone and vocals. With him are Tomás Doncker, Tina Torres, Miguel Valdez and Josh David on vocals, Miguel Valdez, Baba Don and Ronnie Roc on percussion, Mike Griot on bass, Tomás Doncker on guitar, and Afrikan Sciences (Eric Porter) as DJ.
No More Drama opens the album in a glorious cacophony which breaks immediately into thunderous percussion and beautiful horn blasts. The voice chants “No.More.Drama” and the chorus answers “No more…” The hook is the groove. It is Techno. It is Latin. It is Funk. The horn punctuates the rhythm and chorus and the rhythm and DJ carry the piece to the end. WOW!
Amor Tragico follows with Tina Torres’ powerful and gorgeous vocals supported by the male chorus. Mac Gollehon’s trumpet cuts through the voices in staggering power as the percussion locks down the beat. Gollehon switches to trombone then back to trumpet and you just can’t get enough of either. The trident of percussion, horns, and vocals skewers you. The cool bass ending from Mike Griot is a sweet close.
Exito Obscuridad has tone-perfect trumpet work from Gollehon over the sublime rhythm section. His phrasing is lyrical and the melody is splendid. This is a beautiful arrangement and flawless performance. That lyricism continues as Gollehon stretches out the melodic lines languidly over his vocal interjections. His horn delivery brings to mind great like Hugh Masakela. The unbroken percussion is spot-on for the beautiful trumpet lines and the throbbing bass of Griot.
Dale Jamon opens with a female chorus and horn intro before the onslaught of the rhythm section. Griot’s bass lines are front and center and worthy of the attention. The male chorus answers the female voice and the trumpet again cuts through in high and precise delivery. Gollehon answers himself and the rhythm section thunders forward again with the male and female voices in the familiar call-and-response. Doncker’s electric guitar surges forward until surrendering the close to the horns.
Griot gets to open Il Aceite with punchy bass lines and an accompanying pulsating drum work. The rhythms are hair-raising and the muted trumpet recalls Miles Davis early Fusion days. Doncker returns with the cool guitar licks that enliven the driving Funk. There are twenty things going on at once and they are all deep in the groove. Bone-crushing, like I said.
Elegancia follows with a…well…elegant rhythm and trumpet. The male voices are off-set by the high-pitched trumpet. The enthralling rhythm drives the trumpet forward while the preacher’s voice heralds the end of all things. The techno DJ is cool against that gorgeous trumpet. This was one to hear over and over.
Obscuridad (David Ben Jack Remix) is a stunningly effected remix that carries the original theme but in a more soulful rendering. This was extraordinary. Love the overdubbed horns and the steady-on rhythm section.
Amor Tragico (David Ben Jack Remix) retains those gorgeous vocals of Tina Torres. For those of us who could not get enough the first time, the Remix! The tighter techno remix allows total focus on the vocals before the take-over by the synthesized rhythms. The synth-rhythm breaks for the trumpet interlude and resumes alongside the extraordinary vocals of Torres. Good Lord. This is the stuff my mama warned me about. Glad I didn’t listen to her.
No More Drama (Touchy Feemix) is a blast! Powerful bass lines carry the groove from the start. The trumpet is layered and reverbed into a riff that is so fine. A scratchy guitar here, a piano chord there and vocals that come from everywhere.
The album closes with If Time Allows. The solo open trumpet opens the final track and is answered by the muted trumpet and percussion. The tone and movement of the horn lines remind me of Arturo Sandoval’s I Remember Clifford. The Mark Henry Remix takes over and shapes something more space-techno while the lovely muted trumpet continues unabated. The open trumpet returns to close out the album in beautifully phrased tones.
Mac Gollehon & The Hispanic Mechanics is fun, intelligent, inspiring and provocative all at once. Gollehon has gathered his influences and artists into a cohesive unity that allows for the creation of something riotously energetic and sublimely thoughtful. The power of the percussion and the intensity of the trumpet jerk the listener to attention and compels a hearing. All the while, it is deliriously entertaining.
~Travis Roger,s Jr. is The Jazz Owl