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Groove Is King
Rock Candy Funk Party
Label: J&R Adventures
Review Date: July 30, 2015


“Groove Is King” is the second album by Rock Candy Funk Party – a little side band led by Joe Bonamassa drummer, Tal Bergman and also happens to include Bonamassa as well as Ron DeJesus on guitar and Mike Merritt on bass.

A bit different from their debut CD, “Groove Is King” is a incredibly delightful and masterful blend of jazz, R&B, funk, electronica, and rock. A tighter, more “produced” CD, you can tell that the band has taken their sound to a whole new level. What can I say? It’s just a ton o’ fun to listen to!

DeJesus said of the project, “This time around, the concept was less jazz and more modern dance with layered grooves. The rhythm section laid the foundation and then we’d add in strings, synths and an incredible horn section, all while keeping it funky.”

Also new to this album are horn arrangements by Grammy-winning trumpeter Randy Brecker, and contributions from Daniel Sadownick (percussion), James Campagnola (saxophone), Ada Rovatti (saxophone), and Fred Kron (keys). Renato Neto, who played on RCFP’s debut album, joins the lineup again on keys while ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons lends his trademark growl to the album as the master of ceremonies aka “Mr. Funkadamus.” Together, these players weave into the mix heavier dance beats, rock, and pure unadulterated funk, citing influences such as Daft Punk, the Brecker Brothers, Mark Ronson with Bruno Mars, Massive Attack, Sade, Prince, and Led Zeppelin.

These influences can be heard in many of the tracks, including the more rock-driven “Don’t Funk With Me” and “Uber Station,” a couple of tight, funky tunes punctuated with horns that recapture some of that classic Brecker Brothers sound, while “Low Tide” and “Groove Is King” feature a more stripped down, guitar-driven funk. “There was a definite intention of making tracks that are danceable,” said Merritt about “Don’t Be Stingy With The SMPTE,” “C You On The Flip Side,” and the EDM mash-up “The Fabulous Tales Of Two Bands,” which has traces of Prodigy’s 1997 hit “Firestarter.” “East Village” and “The 6 Train To The Bronx” both feature a cool, relaxed jazz feel while “Cube’s Brick” has a world music groove reminiscent of Weather Report; a funky yet ethereal treatment can be found on a re-imagining of Peter Gabriel’s “Digging In The Dirt.”

If you love hearing fun, innovative, music by phenomenal musicians, then “Groove Is King” is the must-buy CD for you.