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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Funkalleros @ Jazz Café. January 25

Graham Hardy (trumpet), Mark Williams (guitar), Neil Harland (bass) & Adam Sinclair (drums) + Susan Hamilton (vocals)
(Review by Russell)
Freddie Hubbard’s Red Clay to Donald Byrd’s The Emperor marked out the territory Graham Hardy & co would cover at this Jazz Café gig. A round of solos warmed the digits on the opening number. Trumpeter Hardy’s compositions stand comparison in a crowded funk market; Wild Monkey Dance (perfect material for Horn Dogs or the pup Northern Monkey Brass Band) hit a groove as Neil Harland’s constantly shifting bass lines kept the audience/band guessing. Shuddering reggae rhythms wove in and out of funking glorious inventions.
Bill Evan’s Funkallero (a tangential touchstone) featured guitarist Mark Williams who crafted yet another immaculate, high octane solo. Susan Hamilton joined the party, albeit briefly, with a soulful Nature Boy. Having done her thing she didn’t hang around too long. Next time let’s hear another couple of numbers. The first set concluded with Terence Blanchard’s Over There, a slow burning piece, Williams conjuring chords, Hardy teasing a solo out of the ether.
The Emperor set the tempo for the second set. Harland’s electric bass punched out a succession of killer grooves (somewhere in there Williams invented the chord of chords!) as drummer Adam Sinclair, hidden at the back under the stairs, changed gear at will. Trumpeter Chris Botti (he of the smooth jazz world) seemed unlikely source material but Hardy’s take on Cubism worked surprisingly well. Original material is to be encouraged, particularly when it’s as good as Melon Felon and Theme from Shifty. The former is perfect New Orleans large ensemble fayre; infectious groove, space to create, fun to play. All four excelled. Funkalleros surface occasionally, so next time, Horn Dog or Monkey, get on down.                     
Russell.

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