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"Chamsa" - CD

Chamsa CD back coverIt's a rare joy to find an album that can be wholeheartedly recommended to fans of every type of music, and I'm thrilled with Atlas Soul's Chamsa. They've got it all: James Brown/Fela Kuti-style funk workouts, a multitude of Latin rhythms and percussion, catchy hooks and vocal melodies, and some smokin' soloists in Lotfi Tiken (guitar/vox.) and Jacques Pardo (sax/vox.). There's just short of a million guest players in addition to the group's six core members, but the sound is never cluttered, no one ever plays a superfluous note, and the groove is never lost. The whole affair reminds me of a wacky foreign Steely Dan or Los Amigos Invisibles and the Buena Vista Social Club jamming with Baba Maal and Orchestra Baobab. The liner notes explain it best: "Atlas Soul music incorporates many genres: Moroccan Rai, Shaabi, West African Hilife, Socca, Reggae, Samba, Jazz, Funk, and Rock. It might sound a bit ambitious but it comes to us very naturally. Our goal is to transcend over the genres, styles and music trends and to communicate to you-the listener-the passions, emotions, and fun that we share while composing and playing it." - Michael Baldino,, Inc. (c)2001, Michael Baldino