Isle of Magic (Agogo Records)
Congas, shakers, marimbas, udu drums, something called a karkabou, something else called a bendir—all populate the world music, Afrobeat and spacey postmodern grooves of Mop Mop. But any disc that even moderately features trombone guru Fred Wesley, a man whose horn playing was the definition of happiness to none other than the Godfather of Soul, is certain to maintain some roots in unwavering, greasy, American-fried funk.
Honking horns, smoking vibraphones, a “Let I Go” mantra and various similarly socially conscious rants from Trinidad-born poet/singer Anthony Joseph populate the majority of the tracks. But it’s really Wesley’s slinky riffing on “Run Around” that cooks the hottest, sizzles the loudest and says the most. Woody Allen pegged the group for soundtrack work To Rome With Love, and they’ll reportedly be involved in a new project for the jazz aficionado and relentless auteur.