It is a true blessing, in the present music generation, to see and hear still musicians that fuse together the idea of evolution and improvisation, translating it into the music they love the most. Groove Is King mirrors perfectly this concept. Put together an ensemble of highly refined and skilled musicians, willing to explore different music styles, 70's and 80's samples and tease their audience with sudden change of tempos and there you will find Rock Candy Funk Party.
Once just a duo project and started in 2007 by Tal Bergman on drums and Ron DeJesus on guitar, the idea of instrumentally mashing together the results of music experiences collected through the years went exponentially massive, in the minds of these two musicians. So much that Bergman (band leader and producer of RCFP) and DeJesus decided to join forces with guitar genius Joe Bonamassa and one of the best bass player in the American circuit, Mike Merritt, to form Rock Candy Funk Party.
We Want O' Groove, their first album released in 2013, saw Renato Neto on keyboards completing the line-up of the band, in what proved to be a fabulous free-form album, in which the interplay between the band members created a stunning crossover of instrumental recording of soul, jazz, funk and fusion.
Groove Is King is the natural progression of their previous album. There is a total escapism of the whole band from any music parameter in each individual track of this highly palatable album. This time around though, RCFP have gone even one notch further by adding a horn section of the highest standard, by having Randy Brecker on trumpet, James Campagnola on saxophone and Ada Rovatti on saxophone too. To complete the ensemble of such a spectacular line-up, Daniel Sadownick on percussion and Fred Kron on keyboards bring that extra spice that serves perfectly the experimental structure of this All-Star Band.
The whole album is a full disassemble and a clear representation of the band's name and musical meaning. You can get the "Rock" effect by listening to the title-track Groove Is King or Uber Station, not to mention the presence of the great Billy Gibbons as Guest MC on the intro and two segues of the album.
The "Candy" come through tracks like If Six Was Eight, a fabulous tribal duet between Bergman and Sadownick and Rock Candy, a 70's jazz tune that carries memories of John Scofield's sound style, with a fabulous bass line by Mike Merritt. On the same tune, Bonamassa's guitar solos take charge in such a gigantic way half a way of the track. The power, fluidity and class shown by Bonamassa on the Rock Candy's tune are really something special. Personally, I feel they are some of the best guitar solos the Italo-American Virtuoso has put on a studio album for quite some time.
The "Funk" part is one of the most entertaining of the album, carrying echoes of Prince-meet-Nile Rodgers in the raw and sexy Low Tide or the highly energetic tempo of Don't Funk With Me.
The "Party" factor is what makes this band really extraordinary. There is a special treat for every music lover, from the 70's Saturday Night Disco tempo of Don't Be Stingy With The SMPTE, moving into the groove of The 6 Train To The Bronx, arriving to the Prodigy-meet-The Chemical Brothers-meet-Led Zeppelin stratospheric finale of The Fabulous Tales Of Two Bands.
This record is a clear demonstration of what music is and should be all about; improvisations, craftmanship, deep understanding of music history and a damn fine ability. Big credit to Tal Bergman for assembling such great musicians all together in the same room and believing in one of the most original music projects on the whole music scene worldwide. If this album would be a road, it would be the runway to the future of music. Truly excellent album.
Giovanni "Gio" Pilato
Groove Is King is out now and can be purchased via Mascot Label Group or via Amazon