Ocote Soul Sounds and Adrian Quesada ‘Coconut Rock’ CD (ESL Music) 3/5

Recorded in Austin, Texas, this is Tex-Mex music for the twenty-first century with an Afro-Latin funk groove that draws upon nineteen-seventies wah-wah guitar and world roots beats. The opener ‘The revolt of the cockroach people’ takes a leaf out of the Fela Kuti Afro-Beat school and features heavyweight percussion and superb baritone sax. Indeed the Fela influence continues on keyboard on the left-field ‘Cara de yo no fui’ with vocals in Spanish and nice use of flute which combines well with the off-key funk groove. Jazzy instrumental is the only way to describe the flute driven number ‘Tres ratas’ with subtle use of reeds while vocal chants and funk guitar licks with some nifty Santana-inspired guitar solos characterise the sounds on ‘Pan, chamba y techo’. Columbian cumbia meets Mulatau Astatke Ethiopian grooves on ‘Tu fin, mi comienxzo’. Overall a successful attempt at blending a variety of world roots music and one that is sure to appeal to the dance floor.

Tim Stenhouse