Greyboy Allstars

What Happened to Television?

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Since both reedman Karl Denson and keyboardist Robert Walter have busy solo careers, there is a nine-year gap between this release and Greyboy Allstars' last in 1997. Little has changed in the band's sound though, as the collective, with assistance from producer DJ Greyboy himself, who had been missing from the act that bears his name, rejoins for its third studio set. Although the bulk of the soloing is by Denson and Walter, it's the rhythm section of bassist Chris Stillwell and especially drummer Zak Najor that tightens the rubber band driving this music. Most of the album is instrumental but a few vocals pop up throughout to keep listeners on their toes. The most attention grabbing track features a vocal trio named the Living Sisters -- comprised of Inara George, Eleni Mandell and Becky Stark -- who contribute a sort of twisted Andrews Sisters slant on the Nancy Wilson '60s hit "How Glad I Am." It's one of the album's most concise and tightest performances and is not coincidentally the first (and likely only) single. George also appears in a supporting role on the get on the good foot funk of "Still Waiting," another vocal. Denson picks up flute for a shoulder shimmying "Deck Shoes" and "Back in the Game," sparring with Walter's B-3 on the latter for a classic example of the hip shaking funk this band seems to lay down in its sleep. The tune also features a George Benson-influenced solo from guitarist Elgin Park who generally lays low for the majority of the set, preferring to stick with rhythm. The album kicks off with a sizzling two-and-a-half minute slab of hot sauce in "V Neck Sweater" and never lets up from there. At its best, this band combines James Brown's knack for slamming riffs with the swinging groove of the Crusaders. It makes for a heady, irresistible sound perfect for the dancefloor or a top-down convertible ride on a sunny day.

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