ROCK CANDY FUNK PARTY
We Want Groove
Rock Candy Funk Party is definitely a fun band for the players and contributors and if you like the funkier side of rock / blues / fusion then well worth hearing as the standard of musicianship is high but more importantly, the spirit of the whole project holds up.
The forefathers of the music celebrated here are Herbie Hancock, Lee Ritenour (nowadays a neighbour of Joe Bonamassa’s !), Richard Tee, Bernard Purdie, Cornell Dupree, Eric Gale ( who unwittingly from his records taught me how to accompany other players ), Steve Gadd, Alphonse Mouzon, Willie Weeks, Grover Washington, Ralph McDonald..them kinda cats…
The players in RCFP get together and swing into funk material, often using vintage guitars and phasers and the like to get that authentic 70’s groove ; when any player takes a solo, it’s edifying to listen to what else is going on around the break, it will be easy going, complementary and just right ! Joe is good at this sort of thing but equally adept are the other group members being Renato Neto, Mike Merritt, Ron DeJesus, Tal Bergman. We have seen the latter of course drumming on various JB gigs in the UK. DeJesus is a very funky guitarist with a touch of Charlie Byrd in his style ; Merritt a fine bassist in the Will Lee tradition. Neto is a fabulous keys maestro, his work embraces chattering clavinet and sweeping Hammond.
As for the cuts on this record, they include the choppy stridency of ‘Octopus-e’ which pretty much sets the tone as a descending shimmering chordal run hovers over the syncopated rhythm. ‘Spaztastic’ is nimble and frantic with a saturnine keyboard tone growling over the beat and an airy bridge, Tal works hard on this one.
‘Ode To Gee’ is wistful and other worldly as it starts, it then gets busier ; the title track is very James Brown and could be from a film like ‘Shaft’or more likely ‘The Taking of Pelham’. Insistent and with an old-time guitar fuzztone used for the relentless guitar run. Lush keys introduce ‘The Best Ten Minutes of Your Life’ before it becomes a cinematic piece, old-time echoplex guitar trills et al. I really like the steady lope of ‘Dope On A Rope’, with the guitars cross-stepping like the funk supergroup Stuff ,a band I am sure Joe would recommend to you as strongly as I would.
The midnight cool of ‘New York Song’ gets my favourite cut badge – it is exquisitely performed and atmospheric and reeks of the CTI Records label, the outfit run by Creed Taylor. Electric piano deals out the sly melody like a cardsharp, then Joe Bonamassa takes a restrained guitar solo straight out of the Eric Gale galaxy.
If you don’t like entirely instrumental music, approach this release with caution. If rich-sounding funk grooves are something you enjoy, this has to be worth a listen as it doesn’t come any better presented than this