The resurgence of Afrobeat music owes much to the confluence of three core factors: the great records by the Femi and Seun Kuti (sons of the afrobeat originator Fela), the increasing globalization of music, and the Broadway hit “Fela!” One of the core reasons that this genre never spread as broadly as reggae or rock, is both the musical complexity and the sheer number of band members required. The Budos Band, a five year old Staten Island instrumental big band of retro-funk and Afrobeat afficiandos, is among the most sophisticated to have emerged from the movement in years.
But what makes The Budos Band a natural and creative evolution of these core styles is the subtle incorporation of Middle Eastern (“Natures Wrath”), Cuban other various world music rhythms woven into a vibe suitable for a blaxploitation chase scene (“Mark of the Unnamed”). A tune like “Unbroken, Unshaven, ” swings like the best of Fela’s big band classics, but if there one kink on III, it is that these songs are too short, almost like little teasers for what become long infectious grooves when performed live. For most people, instrumental music just feels empty, but to let yourself just drift into the luscious Budos grooves is to miss nothing and let every beat get under your skin. Like labelmates Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, this band is a product of something very old, but very clearly something very modern.