Before anything, the following must be said: Funk-jazz-rock outfit Deep Banana Blackout boasts one of the choicest horn sections -- Bryan Smith, trombone and tuba; Hope Clayburn, alto, soprano and baritone saxophones; Rob Somerville, tenor sax; and guest Brad Mason, trumpet and flügelhorn -- around in contemporary music. It is tight, soulful, and inspired and produces some of the tastiest solos, ensemble bits, and accompaniments to be heard in 2001. Feel the Peel is Deep Banana Blackout's third release and first on Flying Frog Records, founded by Allman Brothers Band drummer Butch Trucks. A switch in labels has not changed the funk-o-matic nature of this ultra-hip band. A little bit of jazz, rock, soul, and a whole lot of (gasp!) funk dress the album's opener "Raspberry." Finger-fast electric-guitar solos play call-and-answer with robust horn parts, and singers Fuzz, Smith, and Clayburn's blues-rock delivery is too sassy for words. "The Hassle" is a liberating funk jam that fights The Man, man. "You can have your money/I won't make a sound/But you can't keep pushin' me around," the trio of singers testify in rousing defiance. Nice smooth jazz-rock breaks season this hoppin-good cut. Elsewhere, a Latin invasion takes over on "Everybody." Hip-gyrating rhythms inspire as Clayburn's voice swims overhead with a vibrant piano dancing below. And, of course, those horns, those horns. Intricate rhythms and arrangements, unconventional time and signature changes, and some of the best synergy between musicians around make this eight-person ensemble the absolute top banana. There is so much to recommend this colorful, jazzy funk-o-licious disc by. Just go out, get it, and Feel the Peel.
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AllMusic Review by Liana Jonas