Monday, November 5, 2007


Essential killer French soul-funk from Ben & The Platano Group. Recorded in 1970 and issued by Barclay in 1971, Paris Soul is an album that wears the test of time well. The dynamtic orchestral arrangements by Evaristo Nata blend some Afro-Cuban flavors (such as the Santana tribute "Salute to Santa," on which they bite a chunk from "Oye Como Va" and bend it into a near salsa jam), some Brazilian samba, Memphis soul, and post-bop jazz soloing to achieve a smoky, sexy, funky groove.

The band members, apart from their arranger, are anonymous, but it hardly matters; whether it's the Brazilian-tinged "Culzean," with its flowering guitars and reeds turning through one another in a simple airy melody embossed by some serious polyrhythms; or the easy, shuffling track "Black Waders," (MP3 below) with its entwining organ and horn lines that sound like they could have come from some underground club version of the Alfie soundtrack, the result is the same: this is one of the finest recordings of pure groove music made on either side of the Atlantic during the early '70s.

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