Let's not get confused. Candy Dulfer's music isn't jazz so much as it is soul without lyrics. And that's just fine.
The Holland-born saxophonist was raised in a musical family. Her father, Hans Dulfer, founded the Bimhaus, a jazz club that was subsidized by the government as a means of promoting the arts. Candy Dulfer broke away from the traditional after seeing her father outcast by puritanical jazz thinking. Her career has been marked by playing pop, R&B and funk, and incorporating jazz into those styles. Funked Up! is a showcase of Dulfer's passion for fun.
"First in Line" is a party song. Bassist Chance Howard and drummer Kirk Johnson help lay down the groove. The three-piece horn section of Jan van Duikeren, Guido Nijs and Louk Boudesteijn give it that brassy feeling, but mostly it's about Dulfer's alto and the nightclub, jam-session atmosphere of the song.
"CD 101.9" begins with a sound byte from deejay Russ Davis. The song is a tribute to the New York radio station that dropped its smooth jazz format in 2008. The station was the first to give Dulfer's band significant airplay around the time of her first visit to the United States in 1991. Keyboardist Thomas Bank carries the rhythm on this cheerful tune, with Howard adding the background voice as Dulfer and van Duikeren share in the horn synth arrangements. Excerpts from Davis' commentary about a live gig that Dulfer and her band performed are strategically slipped into the track, setting up Dulfer's middle solo.
The horn trio, Bank, bassist Manuel Hugas and guitarist Ulco Bed support Dulfer on "Finger Poppin.'" This track, like several, is a throwback to the instrumental soul and funk jams of the 1960s and '70s by bands like Brass Construction. Bank, Hugas and Bed make good use of their time, throwing in some hard-charging sounds. Although Dulfer leads, she's almost forgotten as it's the rest of the band that shines on this title. She does get her moments, but the rhythm section and the horns are on equal ground.
"Be Cool" has many of the same elements, except this time Dulfer is more of a force. At the front end, the horn section leads, setting up a trumpet solo by van Duikeren. After a second wave of horns, Dulfer solos. The alto is put through a series of high-speed rolls. When the band comes back in, van Duikeren and Dulfer engage in a brief dialogue wherein each instrument grinds.
In the making of Funked Up!, Dulfer set out to recreate the energy and flow of her live performances. With an abundance of soulful, funky and energetic selections, offset by a few ballads and easygoing pieces, she appears to have succeeded.
Track Listing: First in Line; My Funk; Still I Love You; Step Up; Don't Go; CD 101.9; Bliss 2 This; Finger Poppin'; Be Cool; On & On; True & Tender; Roppongi Panic.
Personnel: Chance Howard: bass (1, 3, 7, 10), keyboards and percussion programming (3), vocals (6, 7); Kirk A. Johnson: drums (1, 3, 7, 10), shaker (3); Candy Dulfer: alto saxophone; vocals (1), horns (2, 6); Moon Baker: vocals (1); Jan Van Duikeren: trumpet (1, 8, 9, 11), horns (2, 6); Louk Boudesteijn: trombone (1, 8, 9, 11); Guido Nijs: tenor sax (1, 8 , 9, 11); Thomas Bank: keyboards and programming; Pete Philly: rap and vocals (2); Ulco Bed: guitar (2, 7-10); Frank Stukker: guitar (3, 12); Leona: vocals (4, 11); Russ Davis: radio voice (6); Joseph Bowie: rap (7), "ice brass" section (7); Manuel Hugas: bass (8, 9, 11).
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.