» ABOUT

Locally produced and internationally-inspired, Hard Proof is an Austin-based collective that brings intense Afrobeats to the state of Texas. Hard Proof tightly fuses sounds from sub-Saharan Africa with adventurous jazz and deep funk to stimulate your brain and move your feet.

Members of Hard Proof also perform with bands such as Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, Ocote Soul Sounds, Echocentrics, The Calm Blue Sea and Cougar.

What the critics are saying about Hard Proof:

"The task of any Afrobeat ensemble is to first prove that they're well-versed in the classics and then bring something new to the conversation. Austin nine piece Hard Proof Afrobeat does exactly that on a stirring self-titled debut that kick-starts with 30 seconds of hard funk fury and closes with a mournful jazz melody over sparse percussion that only loosely operates within the framework of Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. From the dark psychedelic marauding of "Stolen Goods" to the Ethiopique groove of "Jimma", Hard Proof crafts moody instrumentals that lean more toward Budos Band than Antibalas. A rumbling baritone sax churns the hypnotizing crawl of "Mahout", while the brass (which splits time with Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears) blows hard on "No Consideration" and freaks out on "M.E.N.D." The best of the band's brooding grooves border prove Afrobeat is alive in Austin. This debut is Hard Proof." -Austin Chronicle

"Hard Proof Afrobeat are not the only Austin band with international aspirations, but the average band fronted by a jazz studies major has only a fighting chance of being half as good as this Fela Kuti-influenced but genre-busting supergroup of strong performers.  Including players in Black Joe Lewis And The Honeybears, Echocentrics, and Calm Blue Sea, Hard Proof excels in putting on high-energy, dancey shows that betray a careful ear toward a diverse subset of musical styles and approaches." -The Onion AV Club

"Austin nine-piece Afrobeat outfit Hard Proof hardly need to prove themselves as a great Afrobeat group, their music stands for itself. Their debut album came out last fall, and it is filled with instrumentals informed by the group's great sense of melody and rhythm." - KUT's Texas Music Matters

"What is appealing about Hard Proof is [sic.] the elements of jazz, funk and African rhythms that they fuse together to create a unique sound. While there are many talented musicians in Austin and an equal number of great bands, Hard Proof offers fans something out-of-the-ordinary in terms of the local music scene." - Greg Ackerman - Austin Concerts Examiner (examiner.com)




Members

Stephen Bidwell - Drums

Tommy Spampinato - Percussion

Tony Cruz - Congas

Joe Sokolik - Bass

Aaron Sleator - Guitar

Gerardo Larios - Guitar/Keyboards

John Branch - Guitar

Joe Woullard - Bari Sax/Flute

Jason Frey - Tenor Sax

Derek Phelps - Trumpet