Follow Follow Afro Groove

Guitarist Rainer Wiens has made a career of exploring the polyrhythms of the Balkans, Indonesia and deep space harmolodia, so an Afrobeat project is an interesting move for him. Along with him is the most powerful horn front line of any Afrobeat band today — redoubtable Musique Acutuelle mainstay Jean Derome and equally noted tenor Frank Lozano. Most of the nine tracks are Fela covers, albeit a careful selection that suits the more complex horn interplays of this band. First and foremost, though, they are a dance band, and they don’t fuss too long with arrangements. In that respect, when the band kick into a righteous groove that lets the horns really take flight, Follow Follow are unstoppable. The best tracks are Wiens originals "Akom 7” and "Forks Of The Wa,” which tailor their parts to the specific membership of this band. However, drummer Thom Gossage, who gets points for his jazzy Tony Allen feel, should be steering the ship rather than rowing alongside it. While his abilities are also considerable, he doesn’t play forcefully enough to kick every song into high gear. In other Afrobeat bands the shaker or stick players would play exactly the same pattern throughout so that the drummer could improvise within a groove, but that’s lacking here. This disc ultimately comes off as too much of a jam session, which may not be a problem live, as a band like this likely feeds off the energy of a crowd. (Ombu)