Enter the 37th Chamber
Leon Michels and his talented bandmates remain superbly gifted musical chameleons, able to conjure the sounds of bygone eras at will. (One only need listen to the group’s 2009 tribute to Isaac Hayes, which featured remarkably convincing reimaginings of classic Hayes tunes for confirmation.) The group’s enviable talent and their affection for the forbidding soul loops of Wu-Tang producer the RZA won them a spot supporting the Wu-Tang Clan on their 2007 American tour. Enter The 37th Chamber is something of a document of the group’s collaboration with the Clan. Though no Clan members are featured, El Michel’s Affair’s instrumental renditions of classic Wu material like “C.R.E.A.M.”, Raekwon’s “Glaciers of Ice” and O.D.B.’s “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” combine the powerful horn charts of large-scale funk ensembles like the Kashmere Stage Band with the instrumental precision of Booker T. & The MGs. The effect is to breath new life into these already memorable compositions.