The first 30 seconds of Voodoo Funk Project's debut album will send listeners scurrying to the liner notes looking for the recording date: "Black Magic" is Blackbyrds-style funky soul-jazz, right down to the vintage synth whooshes that lazily ripple across the sound field and the introduction of an extremely 1970s-vintage clavinet part about two minutes in. The rest of the album maintains this retro vibe, unsurprising since the brain behind this U.K. foursome is producer and programmer Geoff Wilkinson, formerly half of acid jazz pioneers Us3.
This Is Acid Jazz Vol. 7: Steppin' Out (INS514, 50:17) is a low-key affair, showcasing the usual suspects (Shakatak, The JB Horns, Gota) and talents deserving wider recognition (The Sharpshooters, Woody Cunningham). Perfect beat moments: CFM Band's churning Bobby Byrd ("Get on up/Get into it!")/Headhunters/Tom Browne-pastiche "Make It Funky CFM," Cunningham's straight-outta-'70s funk-on-a-slow-roll "Tonite."
Drummer Idris Muhammad's first two albums as a leader (Black Rhythm Revolution! and Peace and Rhythm) are reissued in full on this single CD. The former set has a few worthy tracks (including Muhammad's colorful feature "Soulful Dreams"); the latter recording…has a pair of soul vocals and some R&B material. Trumpeter Virgil Jones and saxophonist Clarence Thomas get in their spots, and the music is danceable.
Both Volumes I and II of Jazz-Funk Guitar on one DVD. In Volume I, John's multi-faceted style is covered in depth as he discusses intervallic ideas, string-skipping, chordal concepts, playing ideas across the fingerboard, and developing a personal sound. In Volume II, John covers the compositional aspect of his style as he analyzes the songs performed on this DVD and reveals the correct chord voicings and melody lines. Using his own tunes, John goes over concepts such as chromaticism, form, contour, voice-leading, pedal tones, and contrary motion.
Acid jazz, also known as club jazz, is a musical genre that combines elements of jazz, soul, funk and disco. Acid jazz originated in the London club scene of the mid-1980s in the rare groove movement and spread to the US, Japan, Eastern Europe and Brazil. Major acts included Brand New Heavies, Incognito, Us3 and Jamiroquai from the UK and A Tribe Called Quest, Buckshot LeFonque and Digable Planets from the US.
This third installment in the "Diggin' Deeper: The Roots of Acid Jazz" series, which collects likely funk, jazz, soul, fusion, and disco sides from the deep Columbia/Epic/Sony catalog, includes such gems as Art Blakey's "Cubano Chant" and Lalo Schifrin's "Jaws," a Shaft-meets-Frankenstein hybrid version of the "Jaws" movie theme.
This set moves and grooves from end to end, and even listeners with little interest in the acid jazz movement that surfaced some two decades after most of these tracks were recorded will find a great little alternative dance album lurking here.