Jungle Fire is an afro-latin funk band, with roots stemming deep in LA’s funk scene. You may have seen Judson McDaniel playing guitar with The Breakestra.
You may have seen Steve Haney with The Greyboy All Stars. You may have seen Sam Halterman banging the drums with Orgone. But you have NEVER heard this sound come from an LA based funk band. With a debut 7″ single, recently released on Ohio based funk/soul label Colemine Records, Jungle Fire is sure to open a new audience’s ears to classic and contemporary afrobeat and Latin funk sounds.
“The idea behind Jungle Fire is to re-introduce the obscure (and familiar) latin/afro funk tunes that never get a chance to be heard live,” said bassist Joey Reina. “Most importantly keeping it authentic and coming correct by paying particular attention to the tone of the instruments and the musicianship involved. Super funky rhythm section, heavy percussion and fiery horns… that’s the blueprint of the Jungle Fire sound.” The band pulls influences from artists such as Ray Barretto, Enrique Lynch, and Soul Vibrations.
Originally a side project that Joey put together for a festival performance in Chinatown last summer, the guys eventually recorded some tracks at Killion Sound Studios, with engineering help from longtime Breakestra/Orgone contributor Sergio Rios. Kelly Finnigan from the Monophonics, a psychadelic soul band from San Francisco, heard the tunes and shared them with Terry Cole at Colemine Records, who inquired about pressing the record. Colemine released Jungle Fire’s debut 45 with a cover of Fela Anikulapu Kuti’s “Let’s Start” on the a-side, and an original track on the b-side, “Tokuta.”
The A-side is a well known cover of Fela Anikulapo Kuti called “Let’s Start.” Jungle Fire’s version, however, is more of an homage to the version by Phirpo Y Sus Caribes, titled “Comencemos,” which came to mainstream light when the compilation “Black Man’s Cry: The influence and Inspiration of Fela Kuti” was released in 2010 on Los Angeles record label, Now Again. A short 2 minutes and 24 seconds compared to the 7-minute Fela version, you will more than likely have your hands on the repeat button for this one.
The B-side is an original piece called “Tokuta” (not to be confused with the Olatunje track “Takuta”). Percussionist Steve Haney said “I brought in the idea of recording the original Tokuta, and the band contributed to it to make it our own.” The guitars draw from classic textbook afrobeat melodies, while Michael Duffy contributes an amazing solo on the Timbales. With only 3 horns credited on this release, they have no problem holding their own against the other elements in this track.
Be on the lookout for future 7-inch releases from Jungle Fire on Colemine Records, and hopefully a full length album in the near future.
TO OUR READERS: We have one copy of this 7-inch to the first person who can tell us the name of Fela Kuti’s drummer and musical director of his band, Africa 70. Answer must be posted on our blog page in order to win.