Scientific Map: Power to the Babies (2009)
Power to the Babies brings together funk, house and jazz influences to produce an album that grooves hard with a healthy dose of creative improvisation. The quartet of Will Baggett (bass), Dave Holloway (keys), Matt Hudson (guitar) and Anthony Reid (drums) lay down some seriously funky grooves on every track with a tasteful amount of jazz fusion soloing thrown in for good measure. Melding all of these genres together, Power to the Babies is a cornucopia of groove and melody that is both danceable and intellectually stimulating at the same time.
Most of the soloing on the album is handled by guitarist Hudson and keyboardist Holloway. Each has their own distinct approach to improvising that plays well off of each other, while at the same time adding new dimensions to the vibe of each tune. Hudson's soloing contains elements of blues, rock, jazz and fusion. He is constantly weaving in and out of varying degrees of dissonance, such as his solo on "Day Dream Johnny," where he alternates blues based bends and streams of highly chromatic runs that act as the yin to the blues' yang lines. Holloway on the other hand, draws more from the '70s funk era with a tip of his hat to the likes of Herbie Hancock and Joe Zawinul in his lines, effects and feel. Never crossing the line into the realm of imitation, he is able to thread his influences through his playing while keeping them personal and unique. Which is as commendable as it is musically enjoyable.
The album also features some excellent guest work by several great musicians. One of the highlights of the album is the horn work of Matt Cashdollar and Aaron Getsug on "Wisefoot." The funky horn lines during the tune's melody section are perfectly intonated, rhythmically deep in the pocket and so tight that it often sounds as if they are being played by one person. Getsug also delivers a very enjoyable solo on the tune. Where others may have chosen to rely on chops and flash on a groove like this, Getsug digs deep into the time and lays down simple, yet highly effective, riffs that are the perfect interlude for a tune like this.
Power to the Babies delivers a hefty dose of groove and creativity on every track. The strength of the album lies in the ability of the musicians to stay true to their funk tendencies without becoming monotonous or losing themselves in the music.
Track Listing: Day Dream Johnny; Open Kimono; Wisefoot; Merlin's Bride; Power to the Babies; Read With Your Eyes; Endure a Dark Age; Port de Patois; Carpenters in Forehead; For Fear Disappear (Cheese Brothers Remix).
Personnel: Will Baggett: bass; Dave Holloway: keyboards; Matt Hudson: guitar; Anthony Reid: drums; Matt Cashdollar: alto saxophone (4); Aaron Getsug: tenor and baritone saxophones (4); Gene Stovall: vocals (5); Drew Scalercio: organ (9); Steve Palko: bass (9); Jenne Russo: vocals (10).