Archive for the ‘ Funk ’ Category

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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Bahama Soul Club – Bohemia After Dawn

Central element of the music of Bahama Soul Club is the percussion. This is no coincidence, because this formation was founded by Oliver Belz, a dedicated percussionist. Second in the group is keyboardist André Neundorf.

Together they released Rhythm Is What Makes Jazz Jazz (2008), Bossa Nova Just Smells Funky (2010), Bossa Nova Just Smells Funky Remixed (2013), The Cuban Tapes (2013), and Havana ’58 (2016). This year they are back with Bohemia After Dawn.

Additional artists on this edition are York (sax, flutes), Ralli King (guitar), Holger Stonjek (bass), Lars Lehmann (bass), Maike Jacobs (vocals), Claus Hartisch (guitar, bass), and Bela Heine (guitar). All tracks are written and performed by Oliver Belz and André Neundorf.

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Kenny Carr – Hard Jazz

Guitarist Kenny Carr had the pleasure of touring worldwide with Ray Charles for over 10 years. He was lead guitar for the recordings Just Between Us and Live at Montreux. Since Charles’ passing, Carr performed in Maceo Parker’s Ray Charles tribute big band in addition to headlining NYC’s premier jazz clubs with his Quartet. Carr’s discography of titles including: Friday at Five (2005), Turn the Page (2006), Changing Tide (2007), Idle Talk (2015), Exit Moon (2015), Departure (2018), and Passages (2020).

His new album is Hard Jazz (June 2020), Carr’s eighth album. He takes listeners down a different path to explore his other love of music aside from blues and jazz…rock and roll. In this collection of 10 original tunes backed by acclaimed drummer Richie Morales and guest players, Carr revives a number of compositions drafted across his 40 years of playing and writing. “It was an itch I needed to scratch,” says Carr of his motivation to turn to rock after focusing on jazz and blues. “Richie and I had so much fun jamming one day, I wanted to see where it took us. The genres are cousins after all, and a lot of my past albums have a blend of jazz, blues and some rock elements. I did something similar with Exit Moon a few years ago.”

Indeed, Carr’s jazz has often leaned toward the melodic and bluesy, an influence of Ray Charles, yet Hard Jazz doesn’t abandon jazz completely, with improvised solos and fundamental jazz structures. Carr notes that many of the tunes were written years ago but had been buried, “A couple of the pieces date back to my teens, and I was definitely wearing my heart on my sleeve on a few others” Richie and I recorded these pieces just prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic, but I decided to release the album now, much earlier than planned, because the pandemic made it feel more relevant. Everyone is grieving and going through different shocks right now, but also celebrating heroes and recoveries. I felt all of that in these tunes.”
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Maceo Parker – Soul Food – Cooking with Maceo

Funk legend Maceo Parker has just released ‘Soul Food – Cooking with Maceo,’ his first studio album in eight years, via Mascot Label Group’s new imprint, The Funk Garage. Described by American Songwriter as “ten sizzling selections that haul buckets of funk,” the album finds Parker’s signature punchy saxophone sound partnering with New Orleans funk royalty to cook up a fresh selection of soul and funk classics, as well as Parker originals. The album was recorded at New Orleans House of 1000hz with Andrew “Goat” Gilchrist and producer Eli Wolf (Norah Jones, Madlib, Al Green).

‘Soul Food – Cooking with Maceo’ blends raw, old school funk with the flavors of New Orleans, featuring collaborations with Ivan Neville, Nikki Glaspie, Tony Hall, and a host of local musicians. The funky flavor of the city weaves its way through the album, as Maceo and the band take on iconic songs from Mississippi masters like Dr. John (“Right Place, Wrong Time”) The Meters (“Just Kissed My Baby”) and Allen Toussaint (“Yes, We Can Can), as well as Aretha Franklin’s “Rock Steady,” Prince’s “The Other Side of the Pillow” and David “Fathead” Newman’s “Hard Times.” We also get funky workouts from Parker’s own back catalogue on ‘M A C E O’ and ‘Cross The Track,” the staple song of Giles Peterson’s iconic WAG Club in Soho, London in the 1980s.

It is almost impossible to separate which came first – Maceo or the Funk. He has played with each and every leader in the funk genre, starting with James Brown in the 1960s before jumping aboard the Mothership Connection with Parliament-Funkadelic, and later spending a decade collaborating with Prince. Continue reading

Brian Culbertson – XX

Jazz/R&B keyboardist Brian Culbertson is not only successful in the area of smooth jazz. But he unfolds his primordial power when he pushes into the fields of Funk. With Bringing Back The Funk, released in 2008 on GRP Records, and Funk! on his own label in 2016 he has already set two milestones. His new album XX, so named because it’s his twentieth album, extends the spectrum in the spirit of his diversity.

A large number of musicians have participated in this very elaborate production. Bootsy Collins, Ray Parker Jr., Avery* Sunshine, Maze’s Jubu Smith, Everette Harp, Marcus Anderson, DW3, Byron “Mr. Talkbox” Chambers, Noel Gourdin, Patches Stewart, Paul Jackson Jr., Nicholas Cole, Eric Marienthal, Ricky Peterson, Alex Al, Michael Thompson, Khari Parker, Lenny Castro, Gerey Johnson, Chance Howard, Ouiwey Collins, Candice Cheatham and Derek “D.O.A.” Allen. Furthermore singer Micaela Haley (aka Michelle Culbertson, Brian’s wife) and a gospel choir.

The opener Get Up! is the right advice in our crisis-ridden time, an energy booster with strong horn insert (Michael Stever (trumpet), Marqueal Jordan (saxes), Brian Culbertson (trombone), Marcus Anderson (saxes)) is the best rocket fuel for Brian’s funk explosion.

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