Chico Mann's Multicultural New York Hybrid

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Chico Mann
  • Chico Mann
Considering that he plays guitar in Brooklyn's Antibalas it should come as no surprise that Marcos Garcia refracts the cross-generational, pan-stylistic sounds of his solo project Chico Mann through the prism of Afrobeat. "Harmonía," the opening track on his recent Analog Drift (Wax Poetics), serves as well as any of its tunes as a model for his approach: hypnotic post-Fela organ riffs, brittle funk guitar, primitive beatbox rhythms, synthetic bass ostinatos, soulful but scrappy Spanish-language singing, and a countermelody that seems cribbed from Sheila E.'s "Glamorous Life" combine to deliver a giddy but low-key celebration of New York's multicultural 70s and 80s. The low-rent beats and chintzy analog synths bridge the gap between the early electro of Afrika Bambaata's Soul Sonic Force and the more mainstream manifestation of Latin freestyle music, while Garcia's insistent guitar and rhythmically sharp vocals—which suggest a familiarity with Fania-era New York salsa—balance the somewhat robotic feel of the electronics with an earthy presence. The only real misfire is an unnecessary cover of the Talking Heads classic "Once in a Lifetime."

Chico Mann plays the Double Door on Wednesday as part of an impressive series of concerts sponsored by local Latino music presenter RatioNation under the banner of the Mundial de Musica Festival. Other upcoming series highlights include Bomba Estereo and Carla Morrison.

Below you can check out the video for "Ya Yo Sé":

photo: Tone

Today's playlist:

Jacky Terrasson, Push (Concord)
Natacha Atlas, Mounqaliba (Six Degrees)
Oneohtrix Point Never, Returnal (Editions Mego)
Jeremiah Cymerman, Under a Blue Grey Sky (Porter)
Inhabitants, A Vacant Lot (Drip Audio)

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