Grupo Fantasma

Record review

Texas Platters

Grupo Fantasma

Comes Alive (Aire Sol)

It's been nothing but ascension for Grupo Fantasma since their self-released, eponymous 2001 debut. That turned ears, but 2004's Movimiento Popular rightfully earned this Latin big band Top 10 accolades and Austin Music Awards. On stage, the local groove collective hits like a ton of bricks, so earlier this March, Advanced Mirco Devices' custom recording rig captured all the harmonic magic flowing from Antone's storied stage. Three more things give Comes Alive its sabor grande. First, songwriting: Nearly all the baker's dozen tracks are original, blending seamlessly with "Cocinando," by the late, great conguero and bandleader Ray "King of the Hard Hands" Barretto. Second, the well-paced, bouncy songs pour with pure melodic energy, "Mentiras" into "Chocolate," and the one-two punch of "Dos Regalitos" into "Saca La Basura." Last, Grupo Fantasma's chops shine, free and in sync. And this ain't a prog trio, but an 11-pistoned Latino funk machine whose horns evoke like Nelson Riddle conceived in Spanish Harlem. What's more – save for the delicious, Santana-inspired rhythmic workout of "Rico Tumbao" – it's as if the band's tank remains full after each generous throttling. Get it, spin it, cherish it. Comes Alive is easily one of the finest live albums to come out of the ATX.

****

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Phases & Stages
Nicole Willis & the Soul Investigators
Keep Reachin' Up (Record Review)

Audra Schroeder, July 20, 2007

Texas Platters
The Monstas
Meet the Monstas (Record Review)

Margaret Moser, July 6, 2007

More by David Lynch
Rock & Roll Summer Reading
How Can I Keep From Singing?: The Ballad of Pete Seeger

May 30, 2008

Texas Platters
That Damned Band
999 Surreal Eyes (Record Review)

Feb. 15, 2008

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Grupo Fantasma

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle