Archive for the ‘ Funk ’ Category

Plunky – On Fire

J. Plunky Branch‘s new release, Plunky On Fire, is a funk jazz concept album that burns across a wide swath of the urban contemporary music landscape. Plunky On Fire takes us on a musical journey through down-tempo funk jazz; house-tempo dance; R&B love songs; spoken word; smooth mellow jazz; novelty funk; world soul message music; live gig clips and thought leader lecturing, all on one chockfull compact disc.

Saxophonist J. Plunky Branch and his group Plunky & Oneness create musical theater that combines the quirkiness of George Clinton and the musicality of George Duke with the vocal poetics of Jill Scott and Gil Scott Heron. Plunky’s words and melodies are crafted over hip-hop influenced instrumental tracks produced by his son, Jamiah “Fire” Branch, hence the double entendre CD title.

The father-son duo has produced an album of 14 new songs that are both retro and ultramodern, a new organic-techno soul music that is jazzy, funky and highly danceable. Two songs are targeted for initial airplay: “On Fire,” a hot, sax driven dance instrumental with a vocal hook; and “Inside These Walls” a quiet storm love song featuring Chyp Green on lead vocals.

Released on his own N.A.M.E. Brand Records label, this, Plunky’s 25th album, will be available at and all the most popular online sites, including i-tunes, Rhapsody and Napster. CD’s will be distributed to record stores by Liaison Record Distributors of Maryland. The March 29th release date also kicks off the Plunky & Oneness promotional touring in support of the new CD.

Plunky & Oneness is one of the most versatile and enduring funk jazz groups, having toured in the Mid-Atlantic region of the US, in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean for over 25 years. They have appeared in concert and at festivals with some of the biggest names in Black music, including Earth Wind & Fire, Frankie Beverly & Maze, B.B. King, Patti Labelle, Ray Charles, LL Cool J, Chuck Brown, Wyclef Jean and many others.

Plunky has also been active in music education and arts and culture presentations and some of his insights on aesthetics and African concepts of the groove are presented as interludes on the album. His positive empowerment and political messages are infused in the lyrics of several of the songs as well. He comments, “I just think it’s important to inspire people to reach for their highest aspirations and I believe it can be done while we’re having fun; what some call partying with a purpose.”

Plunky On Fire presents R&B as art music and this concept extends to the CD cover as well. The original portrait of Plunky on the front was painted by French artist, Dan Brussat; and the inside photograph taken at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts was shot by the design and layout artist, Danja Mowf. On this album the music and the art are hot like fire…now at CDBaby.

Victor Bailey – Slippin’ N’ Trippin’

Bassist Victor Bailey returns with his strongest and most consistent effort to date,titled Slippin’ N’ Trippin’. Bailey states: “On this record I wanted to feature more of my bass guitar than on my other cd’s. I’m also a versatile keyboardist,vocalize a little, and play a little drums too”.

As usual Bailey serves up a variety of great feels,grooves and of course incredible bass playing. Standouts include the opener “Ape School” with some innovative slapping and tapping over a surprising supple dance/funk feel. We follow that up with the title track “Slippin’ N’ Trippin’, with a shockingly strong vocal performance by Bailey and a great drum track by the legendary Billy Cobham. Next is an incredible rendition of John Coltrane’s Countdown, featuring Ron Carter on acoustic bass.

Then he slows things down with his lovely ballad “I Wonder”, and displays exceptional arranging skills on the classic song Alfie, featuring a rare performance on fretless bass. He puts in a fine vocal performance on “Like A Horn” featuring some of the best bebop bass playing ever heard anywhere. Included is an innovative rendition of the Prince classic “Kiss” recorded with all bass guitars. We get a little gospel feel with “If You Say So” and finish off with the classic funk/fusion jam “Lucky Punch” featuring an amazing drum solo by Bailey’s former Weather Report bandmate Omar Hakim. With names like Hakim, Cobham, Lenny White and Ron Carter you can be sure this is music of the highest order.

Slippin’ N’ Trippin’ is available at CDBaby.

Skip Walker & Macrorhythm – Funky Cafe

Skip Walker is a drummer, songwriter, producer, and music educator who prides himself on embracing all musical genres. He has recorded and performed with The Fatback Band, Israel Houghton, saxophonist Bubba Brooks, Saxophonist Ed Jackson (29th Street Saxophone Quartet), trumpeter Ray Codrington (JFK Quintet), and many others. Skip is a graduate of Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music where he won the Leonard Feather Scholarship award, studied with renowned drummers Ed Uribe and John Ramsay, and earned a bachelors degree in just three years.

He would later go on to earn a masters degree in church music/theology from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC. Skip has just released his first CD as a band leader with his Jazz/Funk band entitled Funky Cafe. The band, entitled Macrorhythm, features guitarist Joe Lindsay (Calvin Richardson, K-Ci and JoJo), veteran jazz trumpeter Ray Codrington (JFK Quintet, Eddie Harris), pianist Elmer Gibson (Norman Connors), saxophonist Ziad, flutist Mike Wallace, and many others. Skip is a professor of music and Religion at Methodist University in North Carolina, and a doctoral student at Boston University.

Funky Cafe just arrived at CDBaby.

Calvin Brooks – My Favorite Thing

Music standing the test of time,the recording started in Detroit, has now spread across the world. Jazzy vocals, instrumentals, beautiful love songs. Music with a meaning, haunting melodies, feel good music for everyone. Especially the title song My Favorite Thing featuring Hari Paris was often played at radio stations around Chicago.

Calvin’s love of music and his undeniable talent garnered him a “gig” with Martha Reeves and the Vandellas of Motown fame. For fifteen years he toured the world and shared the stage with the premiere entertainers of the 1970’, 80’s and 90’s fine tuning his vocal skills and becoming a virtuoso on the guitar.

Calvin’s influences are many, however Wes Montgomery, Grant Green and George Benson top the list. In 2003 Jeff Popp met Calvin Brooks and after finding they had similar experiences and a unwavering love of music they became an impressive duo. Showcasing their vocal and instrumental skills they cover the sounds of Motown as well as the jazz standards to great reviews.

A devoted family man, Calvin decided to “come off the road” and in 1999 he along with his wife Cheryl and their sons relocated to Las Vegas. He has become a mainstay on the “Strip” ever since. Calvin along with Jeff Popp can be seen Sunday through Wednesday nights from 5:30pm – 10:30pm at the Range Steakhouse Lounge inside Harrah’s Hotel Casino. Their reviews have been excellent.

My Favorite Thing is now available at CDBaby.

Charles Glenn – The Bass King

The man has definitely paid his dues in the record industry. The former Motown recording artist was with the popular funk group “Ozone”, in the early eighties and currently is Little Richard’s Bassist.

Born and raised in Nashville, TN, Charles Glenn (aka King “C”) began his music career at age 16, playing in local top 40 bands. He polished and perfected his “bass playing skills and showmanship” so that he would later form his Motown group “Ozone”,where they recorded five albums and played behind many well known recording artists including Billy Preston who would later introduce him to Little Richard, and the rest is history.

The long journey for King “C” has not been easy by far. However, persistence, determination, dedication, and a positive attitude have given him the right to cherish the title, “King C,” that was given to him by his peers who respect him worldwide along with millions of fans.

King “C” is a well respected music veteran who launched his own production company, King C’s Music in 1995 and his Rancho Cucamonga, CA based label, Ka Ching Records Inc., in 1997. Charles is continuing his forward path. He has jockeyed himself and his organization into a solid position making an impact in the new millennium. After years of recording and producing others he has decided to put out his first Bass Solo album titled “The Bass King” that features a dedication to the late Billy Preston with his rendition of “You Are So Beautiful”. There isn’t an individual around who won’t like listening to the bass smacking, string poping sounds on this album.

We found The Bass King at CDBaby.

Abdul Zuhri – Positive Vibe

This is a Jazz-Funk guitar album that Abdul Zuhri composed and produced. This album will take you through his interpretation of different sides of Jazz such as a Funky Montuno, a Jazz blues, a Jazz ballad and even a Jazz Funk Bebop.

Abdul comments: “This album is very special to me, because I was able to get a couple of life long buddies of mine who happen to be amazing jazz musicians, which makes the grooves very deep and personal”. This particular album features musicians such as Omar Hakim, Jerry Brooks, Onaje Allan Gumbs, Roger Byam and Cheryl Pepsii Riley singing a ballad. This album is the first of many to come.

For lovers of Jazz Funk my recommendation at CDBaby.

Doug Johns – Stank

Doug Johns’ raw presence, energy, and all-around crowd-wowing prowess can be heard on numerous recordings and stages. Believing that a good musician surrounds himself with great musicians, Doug has had the privilege of working with such icons as Victor Wooten, Buddy Miles, Chuck Rainey, Dana Rasch, The LA Mass Choir, Grammy winning producer Aaron Lindsey, Steve Smith, and many others.

The culmination of these musical experiences led him to his first critically acclaimed solo CD, Doug Johns, released in 2006. Doug followed up his very well-received solo debut with his 2008 release, Pocket Fulla Nasty, and received an outstanding reaction from the bass community, as well as catching the ear of the general public very quickly. Bass Player Magazine on Johns: “One of the most credit–deserving bass virtuosos in America…it’s his inventiveness that’s consistently compelling.”

Doug’s newest release, Stank (October 2010), brings ten stank-funk tunes with returning artists Oz Noy, Kenny Anderson, Otmaro Ruiz and drummer extraordinaire, Chris Ceja. With fat slammin’ horns, intimate, artful composition and beautiful solo bass, this latest collection is a strong, healthy dose of groove for your soul. Doug Johns and company are definitely guilty of the old adage: Put some Stank on it!

Doug can also be seen on national stages with his two-man project, the Doug Johns Duo, featuring drummer Chris Ceja. In addition to numerous clubs, clinics, and festival bookings, also look for Doug playing such events as BassQuake, Bass Player Live, Bass Slam and BassBash with a host of other stellar bassists.

Doug’s albums are all available at CDBaby.

The Johnson Project – Worth the Weight 2

The Johnson Project started performing as a one man band in Pasadena California by the founding member Derwin “Dave”Johnson. After playing for several years in San Diego in different R/B bands with his brother, Derwin decided to relocate to Pasadena to take care of relatives and to study electronic composition. His brother, Bruce”BW”Henderson plays guitar and vocals. Both musicians performed as The Johnson Project sounding like a full orchestra/band.

A third member was eventually added who was replaced by Rene Redondo(congas) . These three musicians have enjoyed performing to a very appreiciative audience throughout the San Diego area. Their music is very jazzy and R/B along with latin effects. Derwin”Dave”Johnson carefully compose all the tracks of the music which is original. All three members play live on top of everything adding the human element to their songs.

If you like Brian Culbertson, Ramsey Lewis, You will Love This! You find Worth the Weight 2 at CDBaby.

Wayman Tisdale – The Fonk Record

Wayman Tisdale was the gentle giant. Known as an American professional basketball player in the NBA, his popularity grew even more during his time as smooth jazz bass player. He launched his music career with the album Power Forward (1995), followed by In The Zone (1996), Decisions (1998), Face to Face (2001), Presents 21 Days (2003), Hang Time (2004), Way Up! (2006), and Rebound (2008).

I shared some of his worthy time during Warren Hill’s Smooth Jazz Cruise 2005, where he offered his fans the opportunity to drop some sinkers with him. His part of the show was a special highlight. He exploded on his funky bass solo. While he was releasing smooth jazz albums, everybody knew his real passion. Wayman’s funky party.

After the diagnosis of cancer in 2007 Wayman continued his life hosting jazz cruises, headlining tours, and being an active and loving husband and father. Nothing gonna stop us now was his motto. But only Wayman knew, when no one else did, that God was going to call him home.

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Trombone Shorty – Backatown

In 2010 alone, 24-year-old New Orleans singer / songwriter / multi-instrumentalist and all-around musical powerhouse Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews has signed with Verve Forecast Records and performed on Good Morning America and ESPN’s SportsCenter in the run-up to the Super Bowl. He has seen recordings he contributed to earn a Grammy® award (Buckwheat Zydeco’s “Lay Your Burden Down”) and an Oscar® nomination (Dr. John’s “Down In New Orleans” from the hit Disney film ‘The Princess and the Frog’). He has taped two appearances – as himself – for the upcoming HBO series ‘Treme’ from ‘The Wire’ creator David Simon, and played with his band Orleans Avenue as honored guests on Saints owner Tom Benson’s float in a victorious post-Super Bowl Mardi Gras parade.

He’s just getting started.

On April 20, Verve Forecast will release Trombone Shorty’s new album ‘Backatown,’ an explosive, homegrown combination of funk, rock, R&B and hip-hop he calls “Supafunkrock.” The album was produced by fellow New Orleanian Ben Ellman of Galactic and features fourteen songs, all but one of them written or co-written by Andrews. Guests on the album include Lenny Kravitz, Marc Broussard and Allen Toussaint, who contributes piano to a take on his own composition “On Your Way Down,” the album’s lone cover.

‘Backatown’ is a local term for an area of New Orleans that includes the historic Treme neighborhood – or 6th Ward – from which Trombone Shorty hails. Home to Congo Square, birthplace of Louis Armstrong, it has been called “the most musical neighborhood in America’s most musical city.” A virtuoso prodigy trombonist, brilliant trumpet player, and soulful, charismatic singer, Shorty has been performing with some members of Orleans Avenue – which includes Dwayne “Big D” Williams (percussion), Mike Ballard (bass), Joey Peebles (drums), Pete Murano (guitar) and Dan Oestreicher (baritone sax) – since childhood. The group taps into these roots to create a streetwise, gritty sound all its own on Backatown. Continue reading