Stu Gardner

Stu Gardner & The Sanctified Sound

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Veteran session keyboardist Stu Gardner assumes the spotlight for Stu Gardner & the Sanctified Sound, a solid if unspectacular funk outing indicative of its creator's journeyman status. Gardner and his band (including bassist Charles Fletcher) are undoubtedly gifted players, but his songwriting is pedestrian at best, drawing obvious inspiration from early-'70s icons like Sly & the Family Stone, James Brown, and Stevie Wonder but never reaching the same heights. A soulful, nuanced "Home on the Range" and the self-explanatory "Funky Neighborhood" nevertheless make for engaging listening, and DJs in search of sample fodder will find a number of funky breaks to plunder.