Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Brooklyn Funk Essentials: Ronnie Scott's 28/10/22


Let’s face it, playing at Ronnie Scott’s is not a given. I’ve seen many an act try too hard and fall flat on their face. You can’t just go steaming in, you have to work the room just a little and suss out the crowd before you fully unleash yourself.

Seasoned pros like the Brooklyn Funk Essentials know this unwritten rule so the evening kicked off in a highly measured fashion as they tested the water, so to speak, with their mid-tempo opener, "Magick Karpet Ride". A Middle Eastern slice of funk blessedness that whetted our appetite.

Incidentally, the first thing you notice about this band is the taut rhythm section, comprising of bass player/bandleader Lati Kronlund and drummer, Hux Flux. These guys know how to lay down a magic carpet that’s for sure and they leave much-hallowed space, stripped-down funky beats and round, resounding basslines are what make this band tick.

With their mission statement stated, it was time to ramp it up a little with the funkadelicious and intergalactic "Funk Ain’t Ova" - a top single they released back in September 2019. Swiftly followed by "Scream", their more recent single, which is melodic funkateering at its best!

The band were hitting their stride and Alison Limerick’s general bonhomie, great vocals and good vibes relaxed the audience so these guys could do their thing (enforce the funk). It was good to see the jazz ragamuffin Desmond Foster do his thing too, especially on "Istanbul Twilight", his trusty arch-top guitar sounded crisp and he bounces off Alison well, as both of them show the love throughout proceedings.

Newcomer, Loic Gayot (judging by his jacket) has earnt his stripes already, putting in a fierce soprano sax solo. And so too on "Watcha Want From Me" with his imperious-sounding tenor.

His cohort, Ebba Asman, who looked like she had stepped out of a Vemeer painting, was in top form too. The girl with the pearl trombone is only 23 and is, without a doubt, a young jazz head on old shoulders. She was blowing up a storm single-handedly on "Brooklyn Recycles" and elsewhere.

It would be remiss of me not to mention keyboardist, Kristoffer Walkman. To my mind, the Brian Eno of the band provides a texture of swishy soundscapes and mean funk Moog organ, especially on the aforementioned "Watcha Want From Me". His contribution is err, essential!

Dance all-time anthem "Where Love Lives" really got the crowd going and "The Creator Has A Master Plan" proved that the Brooklyn Funk Essentials are groove ridden to the very last.

Hux took out the evening with an incendiary drum solo and was joined by the barman on bongos behind me, who temporarily left his job of tending drinks and joined in behind the bar. When the staff join in you know you are onto a winner! Last orders please!
Words Emrys Baird

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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