Ice (3)

Ice (3)


Ice, a.k.a. The Lafayette Afro Rock Band, Crispy & Co., Captain Dax, Les Atlantes, Wall of Steel and Sweet Exorcist was formed originally as The Bobby Boyd Congress in Long Island, New York in 1970, named after their original vocalist Bobby Boyd (2). Upon deciding that the funk scene in the United States was too saturated for them to viably compete in, they relocated to France in 1971; there recording one album before Bobby Boyd would return to America. It was then, after Bobby Boyd left, they named themselves Ice.

Their regular performances in Paris' Barbès district (an area made up primarily of North African immigrants) caught the eye of producer Pierre Jaubert, owner of IHP productions, and he invited them to become the house session band at his Parisound studio. After the release of the first Ice album Each Man Makes His Own Destiny, their surroundings in the Barbès district of Paris inspired Ice to weave African music into their original funk rock style. At that same time, there was the huge international hit “Soul Makossa” by African musician Manu Dibango. So, at the urging of Pierre Jaubert, they changed their name to The Lafayette Afro Rock Band and began recording songs with African sounding names, some of which would not be released until 1974 under the Ice moniker on the album entitled Afro Agban (The Afro Instrumental LP).

In 1973, The Lafayette Afro Rock Band released Soul Makossa (released in the U.S. as Movin' and Groovin') covering Manu Dibango's international hit alongside their own new sounds of afro-jazz-rock. Despite the LP failing to chart, it made sufficient impact that its standout song, the oft-covered "Hihache", was sampled regularly for over 20 years by artists as diverse as Janet Jackson, Biz Markie, LL Cool J, De La Soul, Digital Underground, Naughty By Nature, and the Wu-Tang Clan. The Lafayette Afro Rock Band's follow-up effort, their 1974 LP Malik, prominently featured the Univox Super-Fuzz and liberal usage of the vocoder. It met equal enduring success, with a modified horn and saxophone sample of "Darkest Light" being featured prominently in Public Enemy's "Show 'Em Whatcha Got”. The original sax solo on "Darkest Light" from the Malik LP was played by Leroy Gomez, who later became popular as the lead singer of Santa Esmeralda group with the 1977 mega-hit single "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood". After Public Enemy's usage of the song was highly praised, samples of "Darkest Light" backed numerous culturally significant songs, including "Back to the Hotel", the multi-platinum 1992 single "Rump Shaker" by new jack group Wreckx-N-Effect and rapper Jay-Z's 2006 single "Show Me What You Got".

1974 proved to be quite an active year for the band. Returning to the band name Ice, they recorded albums behind vocalists of varying notoriety from Bad Child to Nino Ferrer. They also spent enough time in the studio recording their own original music to fill two albums. The band released their fourth album (the second under the name Ice) entitled Frisco Disco (released in the U.S as Import Export). The remaining recordings from those sessions wouldn’t be released until 1977 on the album entitled Thumpin.

Mal Waldron, an American jazz composer who came to fame after performing as Billie Holiday's accompanist until her death, collaborated with Ice in 1975, employing them to back him on his unreleased Candy Girl album. The group also backed African guitarist Francois Niombo for his album I’m Cool. Then they released a decidedly more disco styled album, along with a song reminiscent of their African days called “A.I.E (A Mwana)”, concurrently on a "Various Artists" formatted 1975 released LP "Tonight at the Discotheque". On this “Various Artists” album they created various names for themselves; "Captain Dax", "Les Atlantes" and "Crispy & Co." (spelled in French and German speaking countries as "Krispie & Company"). As the latter they even scored two UK charts hits, a disco cover of "Brazil" in 1975 made No. 26, while "Get it together" made No. 21 in 1976. After success faded in Europe the band found luck in Japan, scoring with the mildly successful single "Dr. Beezar, Soul Frankenstein". They subsequently released the album Funky Flavored under the alias Crispy & Co. to little fanfare. Then they released a cassette only novelty album entitled Disco Vampire under the name Ice. Most of the Disco Vampire tracks later wound up on a “Various Artists” album under yet a different band name, Sweet Exorcist.

In 1977, their final album, Seven Americans in Paris was released using the name Ice. Having succumbed to the overwhelming trend toward disco, with the three part “Louisiana Suite” being the only piece mildly displaying the band’s former afro-jazz-rock prowess. Much of the band went their separate ways after their last recording session for the 1978 album “Number One Man” by Leroy Gomez, a few returning to the U.S. and recording as session musicians on various albums. Some stayed in France, working with Pierre Jaubert and his company IHP productions, backing up vocalists on many Disco albums of the late seventies and into the eighties.

Aliases:Bionic Unlimited, Captain Dax, Krispie And Company, Lafayette Afro Rock Band, Les Atlantes, Mighty Disco Machine, Seven Americans In Paris, Sweet Exorcist (2), Wall Of Steel
Members:Arthur Young, Donny Donable, Frank Abel, Keno Speller, Lafayette Hudson, Larry Jones, Ronnie Buttacavoli
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