Michael Leonhart & The Avramina 7: Seahorse and The Storyteller

michael leonhart&theavramina7Michael Leonhart & The Avramina 7: Seahorse and The Storyteller
Michael Leonhart was only 17 when he received his first Grammy. You can bet that he got the attention of lots of people in the industry. Now he’s out with the debut album, Seahorse & The Storyteller, with his act Michael Leonhart & The Avramina 7. Experienced is what you can call these musicians, but in the interest of time I won’t get into the names and their credentials. Instead, I’ll jump right into the music.
The sound of the band is one of experimental jazz. The horns are given free range to play in a improvisational way. The drums and other percussion instruments tend to have a hip hop feel to them. The whole of the music sounds like a mix of jazz, funk, and that psych-rock of the 60’s.
Tracks like “Seahorse and the Storyteller”, and “Have You Met Martina?” carry that jazzy funk feel to them. But they’re fresher, perhaps with the addition of lyrics that remind me of those mythological type stories that bands like Wolfmother write. The horns in the latter track particularly remind me of the style Cake uses when writing.
“Scopolamine” brings to mind a James Brown type sound, particularly on the sax. Overall, this song made me realize how their music is similar to Beck. They put a lot of sounds together mixing genres. Then, for vocals, its not so much that they sing as speak with vocal fluctuations. It makes for an interesting combination blurring the borders of conventional music.
They branch out a bit on tracks “Jaipur” and “Madhouse Mumbai”. The former switches to African drum beats while doing a bit of a Combustible Edison impression. The latter adds a hint of Indian music to the regular formula of jazz-like experimentation.
Overall, the album is an interesting listen. It gives a fresh take on music in an industry overflowing with copy cats. The formula seems awfully repetitive at times, but this music works well enough on its own. It should present plenty of fodder for anyone looking to make remixes and mash ups. Still, with the creative force of a 17 year-old Grammy winner, the album is worth a few listens at least. The jazz-like improvisation will give you tons of things to find with each and every listen. Perhaps you’re not looking to work so hard when listening music. But if you are interested in dissecting things until you’ve found everything there is, this album will be a great challenge. I’m not saying its “Where’s Waldo”, don’t get me wrong. There is merit in this here Seahorse & the Storyteller.
Rating: 6.3/10
MP3: Michael Leonhart & The Avramina 7 “Scopolamine”
Buy: iTunes or Insound!