Ann Arbor's Nomo is a large band with much to thank for Fela Kuti's pioneering afro-beat, along with other greats from the wide world of jazz. Starting with a University of Michigan grad named Elliot Bergman and friends. By the time of the first full length release, the self-titled Nomo, there were more than 60 contributing persons when records and live performances are totaled. The music is complex, as so many members might hint at, with clear infusions of jazz and funk but all of it in a theme very much part of afro-beat. The seocnd album, entitled New Tones, is far more polished in production, but this doesn't harm anything. The sharpness allows for the jazzy sound to really come alive. The songs are both average over five minutes, but with more consistency in length on the latter. The horns found in Nomo's music are absolutely terrificly played and make the songs loudly awesome. The first track of New Tones, "Nu Tones", is a favorite of mine for social events of nearly any nature. Oh boy, there's handclaps too, and who doesn't love that shit? Basically, this stuff has soul, and it can't be denied a good several listens.
To be had here:
Nomo (2004) @ 160 kbps
New Tones (2006) @ 224 VBR kbps