Boukman Eksperyans - "Live At Red Rocks"
(Tuff Gong International 1999, 54336-2)
From Aural Innovations #8 (October 1999)
Originally from Haiti, Boukman Eksperyans plays highly spirited music based in African rhythms and Caribbean melodies. "Live At Red Rocks" was recorded at the Reggae On The Rocks festival but this is not Reggae as I've known it. In fact, the vocal style is the only part that reminds me of Reggae. For Aural Innovations readers, I won't call this full blown psychedelia but I love the guitarist, Miguel Jean-Baptiste, who has a style that is rockin' but can be floating in a psychedelic manner, yet also jam rock bluesy. He blends very nicely with the Caribbean rhythms, but would be equally at home with a 60's Fillmore power trio or acid psych band. The instrumentation is heavy in varied forms of percussion and when the drums are going full blown, the vocals harmonizing, and the guitar rockin' along the music is high energy, uplifting, and trippy in its own way. The keyboards have a symphonic quality at times and at others I was searching in vain for the sax player in the credits. And vocalist Theodore (Lolo) Beaubrun Jr is a fiery lead man who is energetic and gut wrenchingly emotional. An interesting experience that psych and even prog rock fans into various forms of world music might well enjoy.
You can visit Boukman Eksperyans at their web site.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz