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Beat Funktion: Moon Town

C. Michael Bailey By

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"Swedish Vintage Jazz-Funk-Disco Band." That is the auspicious description of Beat Funktion, an inventive band of Scandinavians intent on teasing the worthwhile parts of disco away from the not-so-worthwhile parts. But disco is but a small part of the alchemy arranged on Moon Town. This is more funk-jazz updated to the contemporary. Heavily back-beat laden, driven by bass and electric piano. The band was formed in 2007 to present jazz in an environment that also catered to a young dancing audience.

Groove-oriented in the extreme, Beat Funktion puts together a book that includes the 2010 release, The Plunge and the present recording that updates fully and without irony the floor music of the late 1970s. Say what one will about the period, it was infectious and fun. The opening "Kareem" is vintage Maceo Parker by way of James Brown and spun through the Average white Band, the grove is complex and viral. "The Great Escape" Isaac Hayes by way of Chic, infused with Chicago horns with over-the-top solos by guitarist Johan Oijen, trumpeter Karl Olandersson, and tenor saxophonist Olle Thunstrom. The music is arranged to support open solos of any length, making this music well-suited for the dance floor.

In the hands of lesser musicians, this music would be dicey. But Beat Funktion is a crack ensemble with a James Brown-attention to the almighty beat that makes these grooves what they are. Moon Town is less a nostalgic recapitulation than a concerted creative effort to mine all that was good in late-'70s popular music and using it as a vehicle for their own contemporary composing. In this, the band succeeds well, making Moon Town a fun listen, whatever else it might possibly be.

Track Listing: Kareem; Women in Neon; 125th Street and 7th Avenue; City Lights; Mastermind; The Great Escape; Moon Town; Impressions; Driver’s Seat.

Personnel: Karl Olandersson: trumpet; Olle Thundtrom: tenor saxophone; Johan Oijen; electric guitar; Daniel Lantz: keyboards; Pal Johnson: electric bass; Jon Eriksson: drums; Ola Bothzen: congas ( 1, 2, 6, 8), bongos (3, 7), triangle (1); Peter Plynning: congas, bongos (5, 9); Viktoria Colonna, Susanne Ottebring, Anna Moberg: vocals (2, 6, 9), breathing (2); Lina Soderholtz: first violin (2, 4, 7); Malin Thuren: 2nd violin (2, 4, 7); Katarina Bengtson: viola (2, 4, 7); Emeli Jermias: cello (2, 4, 7).

Title: Moon Town | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Self Produced

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