Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1091

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King Bee (Beeswax Records)

King Bee (Beeswax Records)



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UK release date 23.05.2014

I first came across this bunch sometime ago via Smoove & Turrell (KB's band leader Dave Wilde is their flute / saxaphone player) with their excellent EP which featured their killer track "Return Of The Dave". Nice to see it's the opener here too, as it pretty much sets the mood and highlights what this band is exactly all about.

This much heralded debut album should remain a true testament to their musical prowess. This engrossing geordie outfit play with passion encompassing Jazz, Funk and smoking grooves which are stamped all over this certified classic. This is an album that you can play straight through without pressing stop!

There are no fillers here either. All tracks are a well honed entity full of twisting melodies, taut rhythms and just sheer musicality with plenty of light and shade. Take for instance "Skittish" with it's lilting vibraphone intro, giving way to a propulsive beat, muscular tenor sax and a strong head that picks you up by the scruff of the neck and kicks you into the band's backyard jam as an innocent bystander! "Jellybean Funk" is another strong contender with its lush chord sequences, choppy horns and a Rhodes piano solo to die for! These guys are consummate musicians and do not take prisoners! Plenty of funky fodder here for the discerning disciples of jazz-funk.

However the real secret weapon just might be the bass guitarist. His seamless fret work keeps the rhythm section and horns married, letting each have their head when needed but tugging and chugging them back to the whole without pushing or shoving, subtle and imaginative-sublime stuff. All of the songs are well measured compositions and the group show off their superior musicianship by playing several solos, stretching their wings on almost every track. It is a one of a kind, an experience that every true fan of Jazz-Funk must have in their collection. Like fellow contemporaries Resolution 88, King Bee are keeping the tradition going (Head Hunters, Roy Ayers, Crusaders, Level 42, early Jamiroquai) Long may it last, a highly polished affair.
Words Emrys Baird

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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