Tuesday, June 19, 2007
DOWN TO THE BONE - SUPERCHARGED
Led by Stuart Wade, Down To The Bone's music has been irresistible from the start with its critically acclaimed 1997 debut, Manhattan to Staten. Its five succeeding discs proved it to be one of the most enthralling and consistently hard-hitting bands to emerge out of the U.K.'s jazz-funk scene. Following their recent Best Of album, Supercharged - Down to the Bone's seventh original album - the band pulls off the uncanny feat of simultaneously beefing up its sonic palette, while retaining its raw intensity. In lesser hands, the addition of the three horns (here, billed as the D.C. Horns) to support Paul "Shilts" Weimar's scalding tenor saxophone riffs and melodies would extinguish the group's energetic groove. But the rhythmic engine of drummer Adam Riley, alternating bassists Richard Sadler and Julian Crampton, and guitarist Tony Remy keeps the fire burning.
Supercharged packs a punch from beginning to end. While echoes of Sly & the Family Stone, Maceo Parker, Tower of Power, Cold Blood, Booker T. & the MGs, and the Average White Band permeate the disc, Down To The Bone remains true to its signature sound with all-out funk grooves. Corrina Greyson and returning collaborator, Hil St. Soul lend their voices on the contagious, mid-tempo groove "Smile to Shine" and the more aggressive romp, "Shake It Up." The one track that demands immediate attention is "Electric Vibes," featuring legendary vibraphonist Roy Ayers, whom Wade says that it was a lifetime dream to finally collaborate with. "Ayers is linked with practically every funk movement in the U.K. since the '70s," Wade claims. "There's a whole new generation in London, mainly the broken beat cats, who do soul music -- people like I.G. Culture, Kaidi Tatham, Mark de Clive-Lowe, Daz-I-Kue." On Supercharged, Wade takes the group's powerful sound to a funkier destination with an expanded roster of talented musicians at the helm.