Seahorse and The Storyteller, the new album from Micheal Leonhart and Avramina 7 out April 20, 2010 on Truth and Soul Records, is far and away one of the most interesting albums I’ve heard in a long time. The impressive musicianship, the tight rhythms, and the diverse instrumentation all make this album extremely unique.
Michael Leonhart is a veteran musician who has performed with an impressive roster of musicians from A Tribe Called Quest to Yoko Ono. At age 17, he became the youngest person to win a Grammy in the award’s history. His work as a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and arranger has gained him various accolades and awards since.
On Seahorse and The Storyteller, Michael Leonhart has recruited an all-star roster of musicians, mostly veterans of the Brooklyn-Daptone scene including Luke O’Malley, Binky Griptite, Tommy Brenneck, Homer Steinweiss, Nick Movshon, Stuart Bogie, Dave Guy, and Mike Williams. If you’re a fan of bands like Budos Band, Antibalas, The Dap-Kings, Superhuman Happiness, or any of the other musicians responsible for the tight funky sound emanating out of Brooklyn these days, I guarantee you will dig this album.
From start to finish, this is a concept album. The lyrics are abstract, and the mood is other-worldly. A wide array of influences and sounds are combined to foster a trademark energy and vibe. While on the road with Steely Dan in 2005, Leonhart came up with the idea to record a concept record that would meld the styles of Bollywood funk scores, 60's psychedelic rock, and the mythical storytelling of artists like the Beatles and Donovan. Seahorse and The Storyteller is a modern kaleidoscope opera that in the words of Leonhart, "tells the story of two mythical creatures who meet, fall in love and begin piecing together the mysteries of each other’s past."
Listening to this album is like riding in a time-travelling space ship bouncing from Bollywood to Abbey Road to Brooklyn. While the lyrics might freak you out a bit, the funky grooves and tight horns will definitely make you dance. This is an album definitely worth checking out. It gives new meaning to the word unique.