Concert Livewire: “An evolution in the afrobeat genre” – 01/04/08

January 4, 2008

This article originally appeared on Concert Livewire.

With the unmistakable afrobeat sounds of Fela Kuti as the backbone, Chicago Afrobeat Project follows in the steps of Antibalas and others across the globe in blending the often fiery and contagiously moving genre with a host of modern influences. CAbP is touring in support of the 2007 sophomore release (A) Move to Silent Unrest and appeared at the Miramar as a nine-piece with two African dancers and a painter working a canvas.

While some of the group’s performances have featured a rapper or lead vocalist, CAbP had no discernable front man, but instead delivered vocals in chorus style throughout the night and often relied on call and response soloing in place of voice. In “Jekajo,” from the group’s 2005 self-titled debut, guitarist David Glines was fluently expressive in delivering a flamenco solo amongst bustling rhythms. A slow and decidedly mellow “Global Warming” kept the dance floor moving in a gentle sway and would lead into a fiery run of instrumentals with horns (baritone sax, tenor sax and trombone), percussion (including a talking drum), Rhodes piano, and guitar solos blending seamlessly over the solid roots construct of drummer Marshall Greenhouse and bassist Graham Czach.

As a talented group artists, CAbP were humble enough to laugh at themselves and dedicate a song to their vintage 1982 tour bus, which shot sparks from its generator earlier in the day and prompted the attention of the Milwaukee Fire Department. And, leaving a sweaty crowd with “Fix and Release,” CAbP had proved to be a formidable collective in their knowledge of various styles of music and were unique enough to be considered an evolution in the afrobeat genre.

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