A few months back I was sent an email from French musician Mbutu (Jean-Christophe Maillard) about his project called Le Grand Baton. At first I wasn’t sure what to expect but the idea of world music-Caribbean and progressive rock/metal had sparked something inside me. I just had to hear the album to see what it‘s all about. Mbutu is the mastermind if you will behind this. He plays guitars and sings in Creole which adds more depth to the music. Joining Mbutu are several musicians and on top of traditional “rock” instruments there’s something called “Ka Drum”. While I’m not exact sure what it is, I will do some research into it.
The music is a genre bending adventure between world music, tribal beats, heavy metal and a Caribbean jazz-fusion. There’s moments of aggression countered by some almost ambient moods. Just think of King Crimson (80’s and beyond) with a tribal atmosphere and that‘s just a fundamental description.
In closing I feel those that love adventurous music with a heavier sound, will need to obtain this album. It took me countless listens to fully appreciate the beauty that Mbutu creates on Le Grand Baton. I would strongly suggest that a visit to the Le Grand Baton’s MySpace page is in order. I feel once you hear the music you’ll be hooked like I was. Highly recommended gem from 2008.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on October 31st, 2009