Archive for the ‘ Funk ’ Category

Jeff Oster – Next

Jeff Oster Next FAWith his newest album, Next (2015), Jeff Oster brings his horn front and center – you’ll hear his unmistakable tone floating over these 12 new tracks like never before. For Jeff, this album is about rebirth and change, and tells the story of what’s next for him, both as a musician and in his life.

“next is about claiming who I am, and who I’ve always wanted to be,” says Jeff. “It’s why I live. It takes strength and power to step out into the unknown. Not everyone opens the door and takes the risk to try something new, something you’ve dreamed of for years. And with uncertainty comes the joy of freedom. This album represents my moment to truly make a statement…to claim my place as a musician with something important to share.”

With “next”, Jeff creates a new genre – New Age Ambient Funk – and along for the ride are guitarist Nile Rodgers (Chic, Daft Punk, David Bowie, Madonna) on the title track, and five songs created during a legendary session with the duo of drummer Bernard “Pretty” Purdie and bassist Chuck Rainey – musicians that he has respected and admired for his entire musical career.

Jeff Oster has always amazed me. Anyone who sounds like no one else amazes me, but a guy who grows so stunningly as a composer and player in the space of a few years inspires nothing but awe. NEXT is a step in musical evolution from where we last heard from Jeff… rather like the apes harnessing fire and inventing French cuisine. It’s a joy as his friend and co-producer to watch someone you love and respect grow into an artist of true importance and significance in a world of background noise.

Listen to this. It matters. Available here.

Cory Wong – The Paisley Park Session

ThePaisleyParkSessionRecognized for his high-speed improvisational skills, fun-loving performance spirit, and a flexible right wrist, guitarist Cory Wong had a multifaceted music career in his base of Minneapolis, Minnesota before becoming better known for regular guest spots as rhythm guitarist for R&B/funk outfit Vulfpeck in the mid-2010s.  In 2016 Wong released the solo EP MSP, Pt. 1. He made his official full-length solo debut in September 2017 with the eclectic Cory Wong and the Green Screen Band, a playful fusion of funk.

Wong’s second solo album came about after he got a call from organist Ricky Peterson (George Benson, David Sanborn) saying he’d be in Minneapolis the following week. Excited about the prospect of joining him in the studio, Wong told Peterson he’d been working on some songs and asked if he would like to get together to record them. Wong scrambled to write some songs in the days leading up to the session, while also putting together a rhythm section comprising bassist Sonny Thompson and drummer Michael Bland, both former Prince band members. A second lineup joined him for an additional session in Minneapolis, and a third session with Ben Rector and his band took place in Nashville. The resulting release, August 2018’s The Optimist, also featured long-distance contributions from Stanley, Marti Fischer, and KATIS, as well as the horn section Hornheads.

His newest project is The Paisley Park Session (2021).

Stream or buy this album here.

Pat Williams – Inclusive, Vol. 1

InclusivetBorn to famed Trumpeter, the late Pat Williams, Sr., and former Jazz and R&B vocalist, Rita Benson, Patrick Williams was saturated in a home where all musical styles were welcomed and appreciated. At an early age, he developed a love for listening to and playing all genres of music, which to date has made Patrick one of Houston’s most versatile and most sought after drummers.  Patrick is one of Houston’s few percussionists who is both comfortable and confident in a multitude of styles, and as such, has regarded him as a reputable mentor, teacher, and consultant to many upcoming young drummers, not only locally, but nationally as well.

Patrick has shared the stage with Joe Sample, Bob James, Kenny Lattimore, Warren Hill, Eric Darius, Alex Bugnon, MAJOR., Sy Smith, Mike Phillips, Tony Terry, Bobby Lyle, Kyle Turner, Regina Belle, as well as numerous cover bands locally. Pat started his own band, The Pat Williams Group, in 2013 and since then, has put on numerous live music events; backed multiple national recording artists; released a single; and was working on finishing his solo album. Now is the time to showcase the result. Inclusive, Vol. 1 is the profane title of his first EP.

The album is available on all digital platforms.

Cory Wong & Dirty Loops – Turbo

TurboGrammy-nominated songwriter, producer, guitarist, and bandleader Cory Wong has teamed up with Stockholm, Sweden-based “twisted pop trio” Dirty Loops for a new collaborative album, Turbo. The album offers an reimagined take on iconic Michael Jackson smash hit, “Thriller”. “Thriller” appears as the penultimate track on Turbo, which also includes pre-release singles “Follow The Light” and “Ring of Saturn”.

Jonah Nilsson sets the tone right away with his uncanny, MJ-level falsetto, but the underlying music sounds less like the original 1982 hit and more like a Steely Dan outtake. Bolstered by the virtuosic bass work of Henrik Linder, the tactile drums of Aron Mellergardh, the rhythmic texture provided by Wong, and the vivid, complex instrumentation by a talented five-piece horn section, the Cory Wong/Dirty Loops version of “Thriller” puts a uniquely enthralling, genre-blending spin on an all-time classic.

This new album is available on all digital platforms.

Pickpocket – Refraction

Pickpocket are a Melbourne band who play deep instrumental funk. Sophisticated yet unpretentious funk that stimulates your brain and activates your feet. Funk for everyone. They change musical gears with ease, resulting in a compelling live performance that celebrates the groove and embraces improvisation.

This group is recommended by editor Chris Mann. They have five albums on their belt, all available on bandcamp.

Hot Damn Horns & The Soul Machine – Shake Your Leg

The Hot Damn Horns & The Soul Machine are a 7-piece funk firework from Stuttgart (Germany) that combines instrumental funk, soul, afrobeat and hip-hop with the virtuosity of first-class jazz musicians. The notoriously sexy „Hot Damn Horns” are a horn section that not only impresses with its wholesome appearance, but above all with razor-sharp riffs, dizzying solos and daring “doits” sure to make any keyboarder who tries to play „brass section licks“ quake. An absolute highlight in times of electronically alienated brass sounds, Christian Mück (trumpet), Christoph Beck (saxophone) and Florian Seeger (trombone) celebrate the analog brass section. No wonder they have already shared the stage with greats like Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet) or Holly Johnson (Frankie Goes to Hollywood).

They are supported by The Soul Machine – a rhythm section that knows every trick in the book. Christoph Neuhaus (guitar), Lukas Großmann (hammond organ), Alex Uhl (bass) and Eckhard Stromer / Andy Schoy (drums) form the foundation of rousing instrumental funk & soul originals. The focus is on the groove…danceable and full of energy.

Get the album Shake Your Leg here.

Dumpstaphunk – Where Do We Go From Here

New Orleans funk powerhouse Dumpstaphunk announces their new album Where Do We Go From Here, set to release on April 23, 2021 (via Mascot Label Group / The Funk Garage). The release marks the band’s first full-length album in seven years, and undeniably the most powerful and politically pointed of their career. Previously released singles include “Justice 2020,” recently called one of the “Best Songs of 2020” by the New York Times, and the contemplative title-track “Where Do We Go From Here.” The record is a sharply relevant statement, even more-so than the group anticipated during writing and recording sessions just prior to the unprecedented events of the last year.

Dumpstaphunk released the album’s title track “Where Do We Go From Here” in August 2020, to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. On the eve of the presidential election the band strategically released the single “Justice 2020” (featuring Chali 2na and Trombone Shorty), which became an unofficial anthem of the social justice movement.  Dumpstaphunk will release a remix of “Justice 2020” by Cut Chemist this Friday, January 15th.

The band’s arsenal of classic and modern influences can be heard throughout the new album, a distinctive mix of genuine New Orleans funk, old school R&B and guitar fueled modern rock; from the slap-bass rave “Make It After All” to the band’s contemporary renderings of NOLA R&B rarities (the 1975 Blackmail gem “Let’s Get At It”) and early Seventies classics (Sly and the Family Stone’s “In Time”). One song with an unexpected genesis is the band’s urgent cover of Buddy Miles’ 1973 Hendrix inspired “United Nations Stomp,” which features searing guitar solos from special guest, rising blues guitar phenom Marcus King. Continue reading

PrivatProjekt – Welcome

PrivatProjekt is a German band hailing from Hamburg. Founder of the formation is keyboardist Michel Reckhard. Comparable to the British group Incognito, initiated by Bluey, Michel is the creative free spirit who gathers professional musicians around him from the local music scene.  Thus, for his projects, changing line-ups can be found, which transform his sparkling ideas into inspiring music.

On his new album Welcome (2020) he performs drums, percussion, keys, synthesizer and backing vocals. He is joined by Jens Salsa (bass, guitar, keys, sythesizer, backing vocals), Alexander Precht (keys, synthesizer, backing vocals), Andrea Weiß, Bonny Ferrer, LayG, Stefanie Schandt, Eniola Falase (vocals), Gina Taperla Weppler and ForYourSoul (backing vocals), Michael Albers (guitar), Sven “Rolli Rhdes” Klemme (keys), and Nigel Lowis (guitar).

With about fifteen tracks you get much music for your money. The band describes their music as neo-soul, funk and philly. If comparisons are allowed, then the music of the British band Incognito or the Dutch group Tristan comes to mind most readily. The album starts immediately with the title song featuring vocalist Bonny Ferrer.  More tolerance, understanding and respect, no distance, contempt and incorrectness, these are the main concerns of this formation, which also see themselves as a mediator of a political approach.

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Vanessa Collier – Heart on the Line

Fresh off winning a 2020 Blues Music Award (BMA) for Instrumentalist – Horn Player of the Year for the second year in a row (2020 & 2019), Vanessa Collier is releasing her highly anticipated and self-produced fourth album, Heart on the Line. As a multi award-winning songwriter, master musician, and multi-instrumentalist, Vanessa shares a new album that weaves together funk, soul, rock, and blues. In her trademark style, Vanessa seamlessly blends musical styles, all while delivering soulful vocals and searing saxophone solos and demonstrating witty and impressive songwriting skills.

If you haven’t been fortunate enough to meet Vanessa Collier and witness one of her head turning, fiery, and passionate performances, you should definitely make sure you do. A 2013 graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music, Vanessa has toured extensively, both nationally and Internationally, and has released three critically acclaimed albums prior to 2020’s Heart on the Line (2014’s Heart, Soul & Saxophone; 2017’s Meeting My Shadow; and 2018’s Honey Up). Honey Up spent 9 weeks on the Top 15 Billboard Charts, three months on the Living Blues Report, and is currently spinning on Sirius XM in regular rotation.

Drawing once again on her music production and engineering degree from Berklee, Vanessa’s self-produced Heart on the Line includes eight new original songs, all written by Vanessa, as well as three re-imagined covers. Vanessa’s stories are delivered with incredible musicianship, gorgeous horn arrangements, and with engineering and production detail that is second to none. We hope you will enjoy Vanessa Collier’s Heart on the Line!

Buy the album at bandcamp.

Tom Browne – Come What May

Every music artist wants a No. 1 hit because of resulting notoriety and commercial success. Sometimes such a mega hit can also become a curse, if one is identified as a musician only with this hit. This is what happened to trumpeter Tom Browne, who landed a monster hit with his song Funkin’ For Jamaica, which took the top spot in the charts for over a month and remained in indelible memory for an entire generation of disco goers.

Forty years later after numerous albums, which unfortunately could not continue the great time, Tom limits himself to what he does best, good music. His album Come What May, released in October 2020 on Innervision Records, is a testament to his true greatness and deserves our attention without reservation. On this album, Tom collaborates with vocalist Joyce San Mateo, who is featured on all songs.

With the starter Shake Tom jumps into the center of the musical action and makes pressure with percussively loaded bass driven background. The trumpet comes off well with an amazing eloquence. Joyce gets into this point and gives the song yet more dynamics. Even though there are certain performance limits on the high notes, the overall package is exceptionally convincing and makes you curious about the other songs.

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