Seven-piece Afro-soul band Ikebe Shakedown craft their own take on updating the sounds of classic Afro-beat and psychedelic soul, additionally taking influence from Western composers like Ennio Morricone. On albums such as 2014's Stone by Stone, the group play lushly arranged, funky instrumentals with raw, vintage-sounding production values. Ikebe Shakedown formed in Brooklyn in 2008, taking their name from a Nigerian boogie album. The band focused on horn-driven instrumentals and featured trombonist Nadav Nirenberg, trumpet player Jason Colby, saxophonist Mike Buckley, guitarist Robin Schmidt, bassist Vince Chiarito, and percussionists Barnaby Alter and Dave Bourla. Some bandmembers split their time touring and recording with other deep soul revival acts like Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings and the Monophonics, and they were often joined by various players in the scene both on-stage and to fill out the instrumentation on record. Ikebe Shakedown have embarked on extensive touring of North America, and the group's songs have been used in various television shows and advertisements. The band debuted with 2009's Hard Steppin' EP (Colemine Records) and followed up in 2011 with a self-titled full-length released by Ubiquity. A sophomore album with slightly more psychedelic production techniques arrived in the form of 2014's Stone by Stone. The group returned to Colemine with their 2017 full-length The Way Home. The band's fourth album, Kings Left Behind, was released in 2019. ~ Fred Thomas
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Jazz - Released August 16, 2019 | Colemine Records
New York septet Ikebe Shakedown play what they refer to as "cinematic instrumental soul," which amounts to a thick, steamy brew of retro funk, psychedelic rock, and soundtracks ranging from Spaghetti Westerns to blaxploitation flicks. The group's compositions almost always include galloping drums and hand percussion, hot horns, and simmering organ, along with additional touches such as surf guitar licks and string arrangements. Kings Left Behind is their fourth full-length, and the first taped at Hive Mind Recording, a Brooklyn-based studio built and operated by two of the band's members, bassist Vince Chiarito and saxophonist Michael Buckley. Compared to the group's past efforts, Kings Left Behind doesn't seem to utilize quite as much echo or other trippy effects, and it seems a bit classier and more sophisticated. While Afrobeat will always be at the backbone of the band's sound, particularly their polyrhythmic drumming, it's never really been accurate to refer to them as a revival act of the genre. The unit specializes in concise tunes rather than extended, hypnotic jams, and slightly more so than past albums, this one plays like a collection of imaginary theme songs. While generally sounding cool, relaxed, and funky, there's more of a dramatic edge to tracks like "Unqualified" and "Hammer Into Anvil," and a slight icing of strings add tension to "Not Another Drop" and the slower, breezier "Over My Head." "Horses" slows things down even more, with solemn trumpet taking the lead on top of a sparse rhythm which emerges out of lapping ocean waves. The album's title track is perhaps the most bittersweet piece the band has ever recorded, yet even though it sounds like the end of a long, close relationship, it still retains a sense of optimism. ~ Paul Simpson
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