Defunkt/Thermonuclear Sweat

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Defunkt/Thermonuclear Sweat is the pairing of the first two albums by Joseph Bowie's all-star jazz-funk group, Defunkt, which included such luminaries as Vernon Reid, Kelvyn Bell, Kim Clarke, Kenny Martin, Melvin Gibbs, and others. Defunkt (1980) picked up an aesthetic first put forth by Miles in the mid-'70s, and Ornette Coleman's Prime Time in the late '70s, with the latter adding the hot-foot whomp of James Brown, the tune sparking the fire of Prince and the Downtown New York scene's outsider vision. The formula was refined and perfected in 1982 with the issue of Thermonuclear Sweat, where Bowie's trombone and vocals added more "song" to the groove: the effect was devastating. Defunkt was and is a place where vanguard jazz, hard funk, street savvy, soul, and assaultive rock & roll all blend together in a pool of sheer musical abandon and hedonistic glee. This double-disc package has been augmented with bonus tracks, no less. Disc one carries the 12" version of "Razor's Edge" and three live cuts from 1983 -- including a killer take of "In the Good Times," while disc two contains a live version of "Big Bird (Au Private)" from the same show. Put together, this collection is one of the reissues of the year, as the music vibe has not only not dated, but proven that Bowie and company were far ahead of their time.

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