Essence Of Funk

Essence of Funk

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For this interesting sextet date, a variety of top musicians got together under drummer Lenny White's direction to revive seven hard bop tunes, mostly dating from the 1960s. The liner notes let listeners know that this music's comeback is a result of the acid jazz-dance movement but, except for the fact that bassist Ron Carter and drummer White are mixed a bit higher than they would have been three decades previously, the music generally avoids being altered or watered down. The most surprising aspect of the date is that trumpeter Tom Browne finally gets a chance to play jazz (as opposed to his usual commercial funk) and he is in fine form. Altoist Donald Harrison is an asset on three of the songs, while Bennie Maupin switches between tenor, soprano, and bass clarinet; he remains one of the best on the latter. Pianist Billy Childs completes the group and sounds like he is enjoying himself on such numbers as Lee Morgan's "Cornbread," "Freedom Jazz Dance," "Jive Samba," and "Comin' Home Baby." Although no great innovations occur, the net result is pleasing and soulful, making this a set that hard bop collectors will want.

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