Hard Proof is a firmly fused band
that integrates African rhythms laced with rock, jazz and deep funk adventures
into their sound.Austin, Texas based, this
ten-piece collective began by studying the blueprint of Fela Kuti's Africa 70
band, as well as Funk and Jazz, what makes this even more unique is they are a
totally southern based American musicians, yet eloquently capture the sub-Saharan
vibe with authenticity.
picks up right where their last album Public Hi-Fi Sessions left
off, yet continuing to take the sound to the next level at the same time.The title track sets the listener up for what
is to come.A hard-hitting aggressive genre-bending
jam that features low notes from baritone sax, and a cutting rhythm section
that drives the record with hard grooves and deeply underpinned funk.
"Men of Trouble," offers a funky flute solo followed up by a searing
guitar solo to contrast the textual differences between the instruments.The song transverses thorough various feels,
beats and the ever present ambient of wah, wah drives it through a soulful
"Trickle Down" is a nice transitional tune, that settles the moment
and builds into a rock guitar solo fueled by Afrobeats and a mighty horn
section that groove together like a prayer meeting.
It was the tune "Lots" that best shows Hard Proof's Afro-Funk chops
with awe-inspiring syncopation and brilliance.Danceable rhythms are non-stop, and get your "bood"moving to the grooving.
How does one describe Hard Proof, almost like a stew that features a dapple of
Antibalas, Bixiga 70, a chunk of Snarky Puppy, a dash of Ikebe Shakedown, and
the rhythms of The Funk Ark, and this will give you your entree to Hard Proof!
Track Listing: Stinger; Men Of
Trouble; A.R.A.S.; Incendiary; Trickle Down; Boss; War Gin; Lots; Soul Thing.
Aaron Sleator: guitar; Derek Phelps: trumpet; Gerardo Larios: guitar, keyboard;
Jason Frey: tenor saxophone; Joe Sokolik: bass; John Branch: guitar, keyboards;
Joseph Woullard: baritone saxophone, flute; Stephen Bidwell: drums, percussion;
Tony Cruz: congas; Tommy Spampinato: percussion.