Gangbe Brass Band Whendo

The Gangbe Brass Band resemble the Dirty Dozen Brass Band spiked with even more African rhythms than New Orleans music always implies. Hailing from Benin, the tentet are dominated by three trumpets and brass ranging downward in pitch to euphonium, but only one saxophone. The arrangements are percussive up and down the line-up. In fact, the two percussionists tend to follow the lead of the horns, rather than the other way around. The plummy-toned horns bob and weave as James Brown would demand, but the charts are somewhat more light-hearted than Mr. Brown or Fred Wesley would demand. Calypso and highlife influences shoot through the music, and there is but one example of what could be called funk within the Afrobeat sortie of "Remember Fela.” Ultimately, the downsides to this disc are its lack of a convincing soloist to really set the music loose, and arrangements, which recall a high school stage band. Still, they’d be fun to see live. (World Village)