Funk / World Fusion / Funk Jazz • United States
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For over three decades, Mandrill has been a staple in the World Music scene and one of Funk and R&B’s most progressive bands. Widely sampled, their signature sound can be heard on numerous albums including Kanye West’s Grammy Award-winning College Dropout. A family of multi-instrumentalists, that blends Caribbean culture and urban America, Mandrill pioneered the Jazz Fusion movement. Formed by the Wilson Brothers, Mandrill is now fueled by a new generation of musicians including Marc Rey, Keith Barry, Michael Beholden, Gemi Taylor, Stacey Lamont Sydnor and Eli Brueggemann. The group has performed with James Brown, Duke Ellington at Philharmonic Hall, and Miles Davis at Bill Graham's Fillmore West. Mandrill has also shared the stage with Herbie Hancock, Davie Bowie, Patti LaBelle, Earth Wind & Fire, Tito Puente and the Fania All-Stars, Frank Zappa, The Eagles, Deep Purple, Mott The Hoople, Jim Croce, and War. Mandrill participated with Aretha Franklin read more...
Thanks to silent way for the addition and JS, snobb, kazuhiro for the updates

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MANDRILL Discography

MANDRILL albums / top albums

MANDRILL Mandrill album cover 3.97 | 3 ratings
World Fusion 1970
MANDRILL Mandrill Is album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Mandrill Is
Funk 1972
MANDRILL Just Outside of Town album cover 3.08 | 3 ratings
Just Outside of Town
Funk 1973
MANDRILL Composite Truth album cover 3.00 | 3 ratings
Composite Truth
Funk 1973
MANDRILL Mandrilland album cover 3.67 | 2 ratings
Funk 1974
MANDRILL Solid album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Funk 1975
MANDRILL Beast From the East album cover 3.45 | 3 ratings
Beast From the East
Funk 1975
MANDRILL We Are One album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
We Are One
Funk Jazz 1977
MANDRILL New Worlds album cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
New Worlds
Funk 1978
MANDRILL Gettin In The Mood album cover 0.50 | 1 ratings
Gettin In The Mood
Funk 1980
MANDRILL Energize album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Funk 1982

MANDRILL EPs & splits

MANDRILL live albums

MANDRILL Live at Montreaux 2002 album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Live at Montreaux 2002
World Fusion 2004

MANDRILL demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

MANDRILL re-issues & compilations

MANDRILL The Best of Mandrill album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of Mandrill
Funk 1974
MANDRILL Fencewalk: The Anthology album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Fencewalk: The Anthology
Funk 1997
MANDRILL New Worlds / Gettin’ In The Mood album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
New Worlds / Gettin’ In The Mood
Funk 2009

MANDRILL singles (0)

MANDRILL movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
Mandrill Live at Montreux 2002
World Fusion 2006


MANDRILL Mandrilland

Album · 1974 · Funk
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Like most early Mandrill albums, 'Mandrilland' contains an unbelievable variety of music; Latin pop, epic African soundtracks, funky jazz, pseudo-classical passages, commercial soul music, Carribean and psychedelic rock are just some of the styles that get heartfelt and authentic workouts from this eclectic band. A lot of the longer compositions that Mandrill were known for in their early days go down on side four where keyboardist Claude Cave's 'Mini Suite for Duke' starts with a swirling distorted B-3 playing gothic classical preludes before the band hits an exotic loungey big band groove and then heads into more classical styled build ups. Other songs on side four find the band mixing psychedelic jazz-rock with African grooves for some excellent highly original jams that sound like a cross between Mahavishnu and Fela Kuti.

Side three isn't bad and features more African jams, as well as some jokey avant-garde funk that sounds like mid-70s Zappa or Funkadelic. Side two is mostly ballads, one Beatlesque, a couple more in a Latin rock style and a few that sound like classic uplifting early 70s orchestrated soul music. This side includes their hit 'House of Wood' with its lyrics that mirror the language of an ancient fable delivered with street corner meets gospel style vocals.

Working our way backwards we finally get to side one which is an excellent five part African psychedelic funk jazz jam that goes through many changes and moods and is never boring during it's twenty minute odyssey. I love late 60s-early 70s psychedelic 'African hippie music', it seems like bands like this were always around in the early rock scene, but unfortunately most were swept aside as rock became more corporate and homogenized in the mid-70s.


Album · 1975 · Funk
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As Mandrill moved from the early 70s to the middle of the decade, their lengthy 'jazz odysseys' were being shortened a bit, but on 'Solid' Mandrill still presents a few lengthy compositions as well as their usual vast smorgasbord of styles including funk, Latin jazz, African soundtracks, 70s brass-rock, psychedelia and jazzy orchestrated soul music. In the mid-70's Mandrill's former peer crowd of psychedelic rock bands were beginning to decline and were being replaced by a new generation of progressive funk and RnB bands. Bands like Funkadelic and Earth Wind & Fire were having a revitalizing effect on Mandrill and many others as well. Some other bands you might hear influencing this album include Santana, War, Isaac Hayes, Chicago's 1st album and mid-70s Frank Zappa.

Although this album is not quite as creative as their earlier work, its still a great collection of eclectic killer groove Jams. In pure vocal and instrumental talent, Mandrill is one of the very best and most versatile bands ever. In an ongoing testament to their love of music and creativity in general, Mandrill continues to record and tour to this day.

MANDRILL Live at Montreaux 2002

Live album · 2004 · World Fusion
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The Beast from the East is back! Not only is Mandrill back, but they sound better than ever, or at least the best they have sounded since their heyday in the early 70s. Like a lot of progressive bands that came up in the late 60s and early 70s, Mandrill had to switch to a more commercial sound in the late 70s, and finally disbanded in the mid 80s. A lot happened in the world of music before Mandrill reunited in time for the new century. The rise in popularity of World Beat and the American jam band scene put Mandrill's lengthy international compositions and improvisations back on the cutting edge of modern music once again. Unlike some rather sad acts from the 70s who try to come back while obviously not firing on all six, Mandrill is in top form on this live CD. The complicated arrangements, the big jazz-orchestral sound, and the fiery improvisations all sound like young men in their prime, not aging wannabes grasping for some faded glory.

All the musical styles you would expect from classic Mandrill are here: African fusion, Latin jazz, heavy psychedelic rock, classic 70s soul, and even one hyper gospel meltdown. All these styles are framed with complicated progressive arrangements that have you guessing what is coming next. Some possible musical references might include early Santana, early Chicago, Osibisa, 70s Frank Zappa and early Funkadelic.

If I had one complaint about this album it would be how quickly things seem to change around in their arrangements. Although they do hit some nice grooves and allow the soloists to go off, sometimes I miss that 70s approach when people seemed to have all the time in the world on their hands and solos would go through a multitude of moods and volume changes before passing hands. There is one classic early 70s 'Mandrill moment' in the first song when a charging B3 solo gives way to a quiet and mysterious flute soliloquy , this is the Mandrill I remember from my youth.

It's great knowing Mandrill is back and sounding as strong as ever, if you want aggressive world beat with searing heavy rock guitar and lots of early 70s progressive sensibilities . check this out!


Album · 1970 · World Fusion
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I can remember the first time I saw Mandrill on TV back in the early 70s; I was totally captured, not only by the music, but by the colorful appearance of this ensemble and the incredible number of instruments they could play. Early Mandrill was always an extended exotic fantasy of sprawling progressive arrangements featuring horns, percussion, screaming guitar solos, quiet mysterious flute passages, virtuoso keyboards and massive vocal choirs. This being Mandrill's first record, it is probably their most ambitious, but it is also the one that belongs the most with the time period from which it came. For those seeking classic early 70s progressive music and culture, side two is probably the side of most interest with it's side long five movement 'Peace and Love'. This is late 60s/early 70s grandiose musical vision at it's most excessive as the Mandrill crew takes on almost any musical style imaginable from dark and gothic mystery to bright optimistic world jazz. The lyrics don't hold back either as Mandrill unfolds a tale of Biblical proportions that deals with love, peace, the future of mankind and other unfathomable mysteries. This side sounded incredible back in the day, but I'm not sure if it has aged well into the new century. If you take this music as a reflection of the time period in which it was created, then there is much to enjoy here.

If dated hippie pretensions undermine the lofty ambitions of side two, side one is still one hundred percent right on with it's more streetwise mix of funk, jazz, soul, rock and world beat. Signature tune 'Mandrill' kicks things off with some energetic Afro-Latin rock that may remind some of Santana. Another highlight of this side, 'Symphonic Revolution', is the perfect Sunday afternoon jam with it's mellow mix of jazz, soul, strings and soaring vocal harmonies. It sounds like early Earth Wind & Fire might have gotten some inspiration from this one.

Once a landmark album, the ravages of time have made parts of this album seem a bit kitschy and excessive, yet if you like late 60s/early 70s culture and progressive African hippie music, it does not get any better than this.


Album · 1978 · Funk
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Sean Trane
Despite its “prog artwork” cover and hope-inducing album title, New Worlds was anything but proggy despite some tracks being technically impressive funk, but on the whole the album is a big deception for demanding music fans. Mandrill, like most other US groups fell in the disco trap that engulfed many decent funk groups like Earth Wind & Fire, Kool & The Gang (listen to their early 70’s stuff to see how proggy they were) and many others, they happily obliged to follow the example of Chic’s mix of sometimes-excellent super-funk and downright disgusting binary-disco ala Donna Summer etc… The only groups resisting that trend were WAR and Clinton’s Funkadelic.

Sure, there are remains of the former Mandrill with some (few) good tracks, (there is even one with a decent flute intervention) but the album is mostly filled of soul ballads (the opening Too Late & When You Smile) filled with those luscious Philadelphia-based string arrangements, some ultra-funk but disco-ing tracks (Mean Streets, Love Attack & Stay Tonite) with typical horn section but often marred with an horrible binary disco beat (which is an oxymoron with good funk, if you ask me) and downright-awful straight disco tracks (Don’t Stop & Easy Loving You). There is even a Latin track (Third World Girl), but it only brings the listener to more regrets of what the group became.

When I speak of this binary rhythm, I am mostly thinking of the 1-2 tempos invented for the most hopeless and sorriest excuses of dancing white males to get them to boogie on a dance floor), but in Mandrill and Chic’s case, this basic rhythm is often deceptively simple, because behind that beat is often a lot more complex rhythm than it appears at first glance:audition. In any case, certainly not Mandrill’s best works, and better avoided unless you actually like the 70’s disco scene. And I’m certainly not one of them.

MANDRILL Movies Reviews

MANDRILL Mandrill Live at Montreux 2002

Movie · 2006 · World Fusion
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As much as I enjoy the CD of this high energy concert, Mandrill is an act that has to be seen to be fully appreciated. They don't put on a phony 'show', display rehearsed steps or use props or costume changes. Instead they stand and deliver an ultra tight mix of African fusion, Latin jazz, psychedelic rock and American funk tied together with 70s styled progressive arrangements. It's fascinating to watch the many multi-instrumentalists in this group switch the make-up of their band from a big rock horn section to a massive percussion ensemble to five part vocal harmonies and whatever else a song may call for. Although the rhythm section stays put throughout, the other members of Mandrill play a dizzying variety of horns, percussion and strings, and they can all sing with the best harmonizing bands in the business. Not only do you get the 2002 concert in Montreux on this DVD, but you also get interviews, some behind the scenes action and a bonus concert shot in Philadelphia. It's the concert in Philly that I found to be the most interesting bonus feature. Mandrill has played a wide variety of music in their lengthy career, although their albums often feature lengthy fusion 'suites', they have also been known to score the occasional 'hit' on the RnB and funk charts too. Judging from the two concerts presented on this DVD, Mandrill definitely adjusts their show for their audience. While playing for the older international jazz crowd in Montreux, Mandrill is on their best most progressive world jazz behavior. Once back in the states though, in front of a younger club crowd in Philly, you get a version of Mandrill that not only funks much harder , but also rocks much harder as well. This is the P-funk version of Mandrill, and it is fun seeing these older musical veterans get the crowd on their feet with crazy syncopated horn lines and screaming guitar solos.

I don't normally watch concerts on TV, but because of Mandrill's never boring arrangements, virtuoso musicality and constantly shifting instrumental make-up , I found this DVD to be muchos fun from start to finish.


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