Tuesday 29 July will see two acclaimed Latin funk collectives take to the Jazz Café stage in a special gig to showcase new albums on Aire Sol Records.

Hailed as one of the hardest-working and most exciting bands to emerge from the States in the last decade, Grupo Fantasma draws on a wide variety of influences from the 1960s’ Fania All-Stars through to folk-fusion wonderkid Manu Chao. Sonidos Gold, released in June this year, is described by bandleader Adrian Quesada as “the one we’ve wanted to make from the beginning,” and features guest appearances from, among others, legendary saxist Maceo Parker. Prince is also a designated star fan, having given the 10-piece group a two-month residency at his Las Vegas nightclub.

Homenaje, the debut album from label-mates Brownout, was two-and-a-half years in the making. It was worth waiting for. Simmering, acerbic grooves, catchy guitar riffs and richly funky solos come as standard. It’s impossible not to feel the energetic party vibes – the CD is one to turn up and play loud, which almost always translates into a highly enjoyable live experience. In fact, you probably won’t be surprised to find out that the eight members of Brownout all play in Grupo Fantasma.

There is clearly a deep pool of talent in Austin, Texas — the home city of both groups. More importantly, they have evidently worked incredibly hard to bring their music to a global audience: the label was formed in 1999. Now they are reaping the rewards, with distribution deals and festival appearances to take things to a new level. Watch out.

Grupo Fantasma – www.grupofantasma.com / www.myspace.com/fantasmics
Brownout! – www.myspace.com/brownoutmusic / www.brownoutmusic.blogspot.com
Aire Sol Records – www.myspace.com/airesolrecords

Published @ Fly, 22/7/08 – click here for original.