Mac Gollehon is certainly a long standing name in the jazz genre, and his 9th album Mac Gollehon and the Hispanic Mechanics marks the course for a new era for Gollehon, with many years of touring and recording with such luminary names as David Bowie (Let’s Dance, Changes Bowie, Sound+Vision,), Duran Duran (Seven and the Ragged Tiger.., Original Gold, Big Thing, Notorious), Grace Jones (Inside Story), Chic (Dance, Dance, Dance, Live at Budokan, In Japan, Chic-ism), Blondie, Rick James, Mick Jagger, Power Station (Some like it Hot) – in truth Gollehon can be heard on over 100 gold and platinum and double platinum records. Yet it isn’t just the pop and jazz side of Gollehon’s experience that lends itself to this project it is also the heavy hitting historically important Latin artists Gollehon has shared the stage with such as: Hilton Ruiz, Larry Harlow, Nicky Marrero, Potato Valdez, Frankie Ruiz, Sonara Mantancero and Charlie Palmieri, who have left their mark in Latin genres. In addition, he recorded and arranged for Soca giants Mighty Sparrow and Arrow, the legendary arrangement of Hot Hot Hot. The combination of these genres wedded together and years on the bandstand, have created a uniquely fresh and innovative sound that offers a dramatic musical energy relevant to today’s music market.
Latin jazz and EDM combined into a marriage of thumping rhythms and pulsing lines, united with Gollehon’s singularly searing single notes, is like the cherry on top of the delicious jazz whip. The single on this album is “No More Drama,” which I might add there are two versions to choose from, the first is the opening cut to the album, with crashes and thrashes of Afro-Latin rhythms and an overtone of the days Estefan productions was in its heyday, with catchy lines and riffs, is prevalent throughout, but what sets this apart is the breakdown sections, giving it a true “mix” sound. The latter “No More Drama Drama (Touchy Feely Remix),” has more of a spacious approach with a thematic crunch rhythm throughout. Gollehon’s horn is so signature, it glistens with command. The track continues with swirling sound and pounding dance rhythms, guaranteed to keep you in the flow. Another barn burner on the album is “Dale Jamon,” laced with complex fast rhythms and masterful percussion, this track features Tina Torres in the lead vocal seat and she is on point. This track is authentic, and screams FIESTA!! Co-producer Tomas Doncker adds a Santana-esque guitar, while Gollehon peals the sky wide open with high reaching notes blasting to the stratosphere.
Gollehon and his new group the Hispanic Mechanics offer a fresh take on a traditionally based sound, dressed up for the next generation, yet holding its foot in the reality of true musicianship that is not replaced with all electronic sounds, but complimented and thrusted forward to a new generational sound. It is not often that long-time artists take such risks, but if anyone can hold that torch firmly in their hand and run with it, it is a pioneer like Gollehon. A hipster ride throughout, Mac Gollehon and the Hispanic Mechanics (True Groove Records) is an unapologetic ride of explorative jazz. Miles Davis is quoted as calling Gollehon the nickname “chops,” maybe it’s time to also add the words “pioneer.”