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Rock Candy Funk Party: The Groove Cubed

Geannine Reid By

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Rock Candy Funk Party (RCFP) is a collection of groove loving musicians bringing a fresh and funky vibe to the world of jazz. The band formed around 2009 when drummer Tal Bergman and guitarist Ron DeJesus combined their love of funk music and released Grooove Vol. 1 to share with the world. After Tal began recording and performing with blues-rock titian Joe Bonamassa, Bergman invited him to join the fun. By 2011, Bonamassa had officially joined the band and the groove has been growing stronger ever since.

RCFP is much more than a jazz funk jam band. They are highly adept in communicating with each other as a group. With their combined love of experimenting with various musical concepts, while maintaining their own unique individually, each member adds their own expertise and styles to the mix. RCFP as a whole is: Tal Bergman (producer and drums), Joe Bonamassa (guitar), Ron DeJesus (guitar), Mike Merritt (bass) and Renato Neto (keyboards). Bergman's versatile drum style has allowed him to play every style from rock and R&B to jazz and funk. DeJesus has always been inspired by funk music and has been continuing to preserve the legacy of funk greats like James Brown and Sly and the Family Stone. Merritt brings the swinging jazz side of things to the table and is currently a member of TV Host Conan O'Brien's Basic Cable Band. Finally, Neto brings a Brazilian flavor that adds a fantastic rhythmic element.

RCFP's chemistry is in full reaction mode with their latest album, The Groove Cubed. Tunes like, "In the Groove" is a fine example of the big wide pocket these guys can create. With a driving funky beat created by Merritt's steady active bass line and Bergman's infectious funk drumming. Bonamass plays short melodic phrases against DeJesus' and Neto's syncopated chords. The "B" section relaxes the beat and creates a swirling space environment. Bonamassa's solo is full of excitement and in the pocket playing. His lines are a perfect combination of blues, rock, jazz and funk. This track brings the sound of the classic '70s /'80s jazz-funk bands into modern focus.

"I Got the Feelin'" is a cover of the classic James Brown tune brought to life with Australian singer Mahalia Barnes. The band is tight and on the good foot, like a funk machine bringing a new sound to the papa bag. Bonamassa is on fire! The added horns are a perfect touch. Barnes vocals are strong and full of the bluesy controlled screams and growls. She certainly does the tune justice. RCFP is so tight, you can't help but feel it. Berfman's drumming is clean and always in good taste. His beat is wide, and his fills are always tasteful.

The Groove Cubed continues to push the musical envelop and seamlessly blends various genres together. RCFP shakes things up by adding two powerhouse singers (a first for RCFP, who normally sticks to grooving instrumentals). According to Bergman, "It will take the listener on journey that explores the use of different styles of music from different eras and hopefully break some rules!!" The Groove Cubed offers top-notch improvisation and musical chemistry. This album is fun and exciting while shattering genre defining stigmas, all while taking elements from the past as well as from contemporary music. The band's motto and perfect concept for this new album is that "there are no rules, just expect the unexpected." Well said, and it shines through in the music.

Track Listing: Gothic Orleans; Drunk on Bourbon on Bourbon Street; In the Groove; Don't Even Try It; Two Guys and Stanley Kubrick Walk into a Jazz Club; Isle of the Wright Brothers; Mr. Space; I Got the Feelin'; After Hours; This Tune Should Run for President; Mr. Funkadamus Returns and He Is Mad; Funk-o-potamia; The Token Ballad; Ping Pong.

Personnel: Tal Bergman: drums; Joe Bonamassa: guitar; Ron DeJesus: guitar; Mike Merritt: bass; Renato Neto: keyboards.

Title: The Groove Cubed | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: J&R Adventures

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