Michael Wimberly, a renowned and highly accomplished jazz percussionist and composer, paints a sonic display of his musical DNA across the 13 tracks that make up Afrofuturism.
Released in three different parts (with the final piece coming out this Friday), this album finds Wimberly with a veritable army of talented collaborators (including Joss Stone and Jonathan Joseph) weaving together a vibrant collage of pop, jazz funk, Afropop and rock that never ceases to make you groove.
With West African instruments like koras and djembes cruising along with saxophones, noodling basses and delicate vibraphones, the songs on this record are rich with texture and rhythms that are just as complicated as they are unpredictable. Drummers will worship this album.
While this is a record that absolutely must be digested as a whole, the title track and “Radio” do stand out slightly above the rest of the songs, as they fittingly radiate with Parliament-Funkadelic and Sun Ra references and deeply thoughtful vocals. These tunes are filled with so many different voices, effects and flavors, they’re practically mini-albums unto themselves.
Elsewhere on the album, F. Musa Suso leads a funk jam with his delicately plucked kora on “DDK Groove,” and Sharief Hobley lends some red hot soul to the Billy Cobham-meets-Gil Scott-Heron like “Revolution.” With the amount of variety available on this record, it’s hard to believe it’s a single release.
Every instrument, every beat and every lyric on Afrofuturism seems to recall something from Wimberly’s extensive career, from playing with the likes of George Clinton and Charles Gayle, to his teachings at Bennington College. If you wanted a crash course into Wimberly’s musical history, then just give his album a careful listen.
Preorder this record for yourself from Wimberly’s Bandcamp page today.