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Seahorse and the Storyteller

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide
Seahorse and the Storyteller gathers an A-list of current soul revivalists including members of the Dap-Kings, Antibalas, and El Michels Affair. So it's no surprise that the record blends various amounts of funk, Afro-beat, and psychedelia into its musical bouillabaisse. Those members, including Binky Griptite, Leon Michels, and Tommy "TNT" Brenneck, are perhaps household names to those who read liner notes religiously, but top biller Michael Leonhart is a Grammy-winning artist himself. With such a load of talent and the musical base which its founders have built in other projects, you would expect the album to be a runaway success. Its musical stylings, however, make it a more jagged pill to swallow. The Avramina 7 ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide
Seahorse and the Storyteller gathers an A-list of current soul revivalists including members of the Dap-Kings, Antibalas, and El Michels Affair. So it's no surprise that the record blends various amounts of funk, Afro-beat, and psychedelia into its musical bouillabaisse. Those members, including Binky Griptite, Leon Michels, and Tommy "TNT" Brenneck, are perhaps household names to those who read liner notes religiously, but top biller Michael Leonhart is a Grammy-winning artist himself. With such a load of talent and the musical base which its founders have built in other projects, you would expect the album to be a runaway success. Its musical stylings, however, make it a more jagged pill to swallow. The Avramina 7 as a collective shift from their more traditional R&B/funk roots explored in their respective bands, and delves deeper into a mysterious abyss of aquatic tales. It would be lazy to say that they created a new genre -- they haven't -- but melding the aforementioned genres makes for an interesting, if uneven, listening experience. The vocal arrangements don't stray far note-wise on the music staff, leading to a sound that drones on many of the tunes. However, Leonhart's vocals are meant more to blend than they are to stand out as a star-turning performance. On "Have You Met Martina," the repetitive guitar lick sounds like an honorary ode to Eddie Bo and his classic "The Thang," while the rest of the track meanders in building a sound that never quite reaches its peak, despite a spirited effort from the sax players. Elsewhere, India is represented with not one, but two, tracks in "Jaipur" and "Madhouse Mumbai," which would make excellent candidates if a soundtrack for a Bollywood blaxploitation flick was ever needed. An exploration in world percussion is permeated with Indian instrumentation including tablas and a dhol on full display. The album is a curious choice for Truth & Soul, given that their catalog leans more toward gritty soul than to esoteric experimentalism, but hand it to them for believing in a project that crosses boundaries and bending the rules. Seahorse and the Storyteller may not win you over on the first, or even the tenth listen, but it has its merits, with stellar musicianship and off-kilter arrangements. ~ Eric Luecking
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/4/2010
  • Label: Truth & Soul
  • UPC: 119964000923
  • Catalog Number: 9
  • Sales rank: 213,352

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Michael Leonhart & the Avramina 7 Primary Artist
Erik Friedlander Cello, Group Member
Michael Leonhart Organ, Synthesizer, Bass, Guitar, Percussion, Piano, Trumpet, Drums, Vocals, Mellowphone, Group Member, Indexed Contributor
Cochemea Gastelum Flute, Baritone Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Group Member
Stuart Bogie Clarinet, Baritone Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Contra-alto Clarinet, Bass Harmonica, Group Member
Deidre Rodman Vocals, Group Member
Sunny Jain Percussion, Tabla, Dhol, Group Member
Leah Paul Alto Flute, Piccolo Flute, Group Member
Homer Steinweiss Drums, Group Member
Leon Michels Flute, Baritone Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Group Member
Eric Biondo Trumpet, Vocals, Group Member
Katie Scheele English Horn, Oboe, Bombard, Group Member
Thomas Brenneck Bass, Guitar, Group Member
Casey Shea Vocals, Group Member
Jamie Leonhart Vocals, Group Member
Andy Bush Slide Trumpet, Group Member
Dave Guy Trumpet, Group Member
Luke O'Malley Guitar, Group Member
Technical Credits
Michael Leonhart Arranger, Composer, Sound Effects, Lyricist, Producer, Engineer
Adrian Morgan Mastering
Jeff Dynamite Engineer
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