Published Oct 28, 2016If the band name doesn't ring a bell, the breakbeats on this double CD set will certainly jog your memory right quick. Formed in the 1970s, Long Island, NY-based Lafayette Afro Rock band never did get the recognition they deserved in North America. Their early success was due to a move overseas and working with French producer Pierre Jaubert, where they gained a European following.
This compilation offers us their more successful tracks alongside less popular though no less compelling ones. The band would undergo various roster (and name) changes over the years — permutations included monikers such as Crispy & Co. and Captain Dax — but their penchant for funky, horn-drenched grooves remained consistent. Their Afrofunk cover of Manu Dibango's Soul Makossa — made larger than life by its catchy and oft sampled vocal refrain "ma-mako, ma-ma-sa, mako-mako ssa" — still sounds fresh, as does the saxophone break in "The Darkest Light," sampled by Jay-Z ("Show Me What You Got") Flying Lotus ("Vegas Collie"), Gorillaz ("Dirty Harry") and more.
Lesser-known cuts such as "Scorpion Flower" and even joints like the Salsoul-influenced "Autumn Leaves" or bizarre "Dr Beezar" are worth checking out, even if they ultimately aren't as memorable. For a funked-out band that have been consistently sampled in hip-hop and pop over the years, it's cool to see Lafayette Afro Rock Band get their props with this lovingly put together reissue treatment. (Manifesto)