Keziah Jones

Blufunk Is a Fact!

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Blufunk Is a Fact! might qualify as a best of genre purely because Keziah Jones is pretty much a one-person genre who demolishes any preconceptions of what kind of music he might play. Jones is originally from Nigeria, but he's a young singer/songwriter who plays guitar and there are no obvious traces of African music in the material. The lineup of guitar, bass, and drums hints at a power trio with solos, but he plays rhythm almost exclusively and the extremely tight, kinetic rhythm section makes the music sound a bit like Tower of Power without horns. But the songs are way too idiosyncratic to fit any modern R&B/funk formulas -- so are song titles like "Frinigro Interstellar," "A Curious Kinda Subconscious," and "Walkin' Naked Thru' a Bluebell Field." His melodies obey their own rules, taking off from the rhythm of his spiky guitar licks like a bluesman, but it sure ain't blues. Even the songs that follow more straightforward models sound unorthodox -- "Runaway" lets the rhythm section power things over very spare guitar, and it's Soul's prominent bass, played high so it serves as second melodic instrument (thumb-popped or not), that carries the melodic and solo load on "Where's Life." "Bluebell Field" is James Brown funky with horn section interjections and the spare, choppy funk of "Rhythm Is Love" sets up a great chorus -- "I'd like to put you in such a romance/Take you down to Paris, France/Leave the cafes and the bars/Walk the wintry boulevards." When he's not being overtly sexual à la Prince or PJ Harvey, Jones riffs on lyrics in almost a private language: "The funderlying undermentals of blufunk/Hang your ass out on the bassline/To get the funderlying undermentals of punk funk/You gotta kiss your reasons, man, you're doing fine." OK, dude, if you say so. Although only "Bluebell Field" and "Rhythm of Love" have the kind of chorus hooks that stick in your singalong mind, the intriguing power and uniqueness of Keziah Jones' music on Blufunk Is a Fact! is undeniable.

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