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
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.