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Recorded Live in Austria, “Jungle Funk” is all about DJ inspired rhythms and grooves subsidized by an arsenal of electronic gadgetry such as digital loops, samplers and electronic percussion. Jungle Funk is: Vinx; Vocals, Percussion, Loops& Samples: Will Calhoun: (ex-Living Colour) Drums, Percussion & Loops: Doug Wimbish (ex-Living Colour): Bass, Vocals & Loops. The initial claim to fame here resides within the fact that there is no utilization of overdubs; hence, this Trio portrays an overall sound that seems larger than the sum of the parts. This writer wholeheartedly agrees.
Vocalist-percussionist Vinx along with Calhoun and Wimbish are a well-rehearsed multi-tasking unit who perform some charismatic and memorable tunes in unorthodox yet absorbing fashion. On “September” Wimbish provides some up front and solid wah-wah Bass in tandem with Vinx’s soulful Bootsy Collins-ish vocals. Throughout, the feel is very “musical” and the electronics do not mar or clutter the synergy that invariably prevails. “Torn” features more enticing vocals from Vinx while Wimbish once again provides the thematic and melodic statements through his intuitive Bass prowess. Wimbish does a fascinating job of controlling and directing the musical contours with his Bass. The aggregation of loops and samples do not overwhelm but provide the overall balance. On “Cycles” the groove is in meltdown mode with pulsating rhythms, background electronic drones and loops while the band seldom falls short of maintaining rich melodic content. It’s hard to imagine how these guys pull it off. The press release stresses the notion that this is a “live band”. No arguments here. The Fifth Dimension’s classic “Aquarius” is pleasantly psychotic. “People” hints at modern psychedelia with assorted loops and electronic treatments along with Will Calhoun’s pounding and ferocious rhythmic gyrations. Perhaps if “The Chambers Brothers” were around today this might be the direction they would take? The final cut “Research and Development” is a tour de force from the great Will Calhoun. Here, Calhoun lets loose with some astounding double bass drum footwork along with his patented rapid fire and brawny attack.
Despite all the pyrotechnics, coordination and high tech implications, this band is having a blast and it’s all about entertainment. This writer welcomes an opportunity to witness a “live” performance let alone observe the seemingly difficult processes of combining all these musical elements into a cohesive whole. The fun factor is high and that’s the bottom line here. Online: www.zebradisc.com
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.