Michael Leonhart and The Avramina 7, Seahorse and the Storyteller (Truth & Soul Records, Cat. No. TS009)
Alright, it wasn’t exactly love at first sight, but the second listening sparked off admiration immeasurable for the musicians playing on this CD. They are — no exaggeration — first rate. I was not surprised, therefore, to read that several of the Avramina 7 played and/or recorded with some of music’s greatest artists like Sharon Jones’s Dap Kings, The Budos Band, Steely Dan, James Brown, and Bill Withers — just to name a few. So expect to be impressed with what this CD has to offer.
Michael Leonhart, a native New Yorker, has been around since his teen years. He won a Grammy for “being the most outstanding musician in a U.S. high school” at age 17. His instrument of choice is the trumpet, and on Seahorse and The Storyteller you will hear some stunning trumpet tunes. In addition he plays bass, drums, keyboards and provides the vocals as well as the special effects. Michael has already released six solo albums. Seahorse and the Storyteller is his debut release with Avramina 7.
What genre Leonhart’s music belongs to, I cannot determine. I’d call it a rather unconventional blend of Funk, Afro Beat, and Jazz with an occasional hint at 70’s soundtracks and psychedelic sound.
Gold Fever, the fourth of 12 tracks, is pure psychedelic sound reminiscent of the great Norman Whitfield’s compositions. The trumpet parts in this piece at time remind me of The Temptations’ Papa Was A Rolling Stone.
Dr. Killjoy, on the other hand, displays a heavy slant towards Funk with a catchy bass intro by Thomas “TNT” Brenneck that turns into the main theme of the track. Lead guitar, vocals, saxophone and some killer drums echo the theme throughout, while the horns add some zesty spice. Dr. Killjoy has become my instant favorite from Seahorse and the Storyteller.
If it’s the richness of Oriental sensuality you look for in a tune, Jaipur would be the track for you to check out.
If you like your music uncomplicated though, rhythm driven, and with a touch of unusual arrangement, you’ll love Dreams of Aquarian.
I could go on describing each track on the album, pointing out the uniqueness of each one. But alas, music must be heard to be understood. Talking about it is like reading a recipe without ever tasting the dish.
All 12 tracks on Seahorse and The Storyteller are uniquely hand crafted works of art.
So, If you belong to that neglected species of discerning music lovers who appreciate creativity and cherish virtuosity in musicians, you should get a hold of the Seahorse and the Storyteller.
This debut album of a remarkable band is scheduled for release on April 20th, 2010. You can order it from Truth&Soul Records.
- Seahorse and the Storyteller
- Have You Met Martina?
- Gold Fever
- The Story of Echo Lake
- Dr. Killjoy
- Madhouse Mumbai
- Dreams of an Aquarian
- Avramina Comes Up From The Deep
- Shh … They’re Sleeping
- Here Comes the Dragonfish
The Story of Echo Lake, Michael Leonhart and Avramina 7, live