Henry Cole & the Afrobeat Collective 18+ Member Picks Recommended Soundboard

When: Thu., Dec. 13, 8 p.m. 2012

You can't swing a stick these days without hitting a new Afrobeat combo, but Puerto Rican drummer and bandleader Henry Cole—best known as a sideman for jazz musicians such as Miguel Zenon and David Sanchez—is doing something original with the sound Fela Kuti forged in the late 60s. On this year's self-released Roots Before Branches Cole and the Afrobeat Collective use the style as a launch pad for a groove-driven exploration of the African diaspora in the Caribbean. The album collages together Afro-Caribbean rhythms, rumba chants, expansive jazz improvisation from top-tier horn players, fierce Spanish-language rapping, rock guitar, a classical string quartet, and more. Every stylistic excursion feels sure-footed and natural, guided by Cole's forceful but generous hand behind the kit. For the band's Chicago debut, Cole leads a ten-piece lineup that includes alto saxophonist John Ellis and bassist Ricky Rodriguez, who was just in town with Ninety Miles. —Peter Margasak

Price: $15-$25

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