Those seeking an un-ironic return to the classic days of jazz and funk, played by a group of live musicians who swing and churn with the best of the old-school need look no further than this album by Los Angeles-based Connie Price & the Keystones. Produced (in the traditional sense) by Dan Ubickfor Stones Throw's equally old-fashioned off-shoot, Now Again, Ubick assembled almost 30 highly skilled musicians from contemporary funk units Antibalas, Poets of Rhythm, and the Soul Destroyers, as well as the highly popular Dap-Kings, proving that this is a growing scene in the best sense of the word, where musicians still jam together and follow the groove (and work) wherever it may lead. Bandleader and drummer Dan Ubick (aka Connie Price) leads this gang of players through a score of horn-filled, groove-heavy originals that easily sound like they could have been laid to tape 50 years ago, with Ubick's jazz-infused boom-bap offering a contemporary swing gleaned from hip-hop as well as classic soul. Muted horn riffs fuse with loose jazz guitar and an ass-swaying drum break on "Tall Day Grass" that was made for smoking filterless cigarettes on the front porch, while opener "Sticks & Stones" incorporates a reggae-tinted groove, with dub-worthy bass, ska horn punches, and vibraphone hits that chime through the low-end swell. The title track and lead single offers one of the only vocals, with a lead vox by vintage singer Lester Abrams who sounds like Curtis Mayfield's long lost half-brother. The last time young men made music your parents would like, it resulted in the swing dance revival. Here's hoping this dirtier time in musical history brings with it all of the nasty funk that accompanied it the first time around.
Wildflowers (Bonus Beats)
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