Vintage League (label)
12 April 2019 (released)
17 March 2019
British funk is alive and very well.
When Crowd Company released their 2nd album, ‘Stone & Sky’, back in 2017 I commented that the collective nature of the band was an essential part of their make-up. This is never more clear than when they play live and this album, recorded at the Jazz Café in Camden last March, shows just how tight and ‘together’ 8 musicians working as one can be.
Put it simply, this had me jigging and spinning around the room from the opening notes of ‘Take Off The Crown’ to the last ebbings of ‘Long Way From Home’.
It’s all there: furious and fluid bass from Emil Engstrom, rock solid drums courtesy of Robin Lowrey, funky guitar lines from Robert Fleming, Claudio Corona’s Hammond and keys, Chris Rand and Henry Spencer blowing fat horns and soulful vocals from Joanne Marshall and Esther Dee.
The interplay between the different elements is contagious, your ear grabbed by a guitar lick or some mad horns or that super subtle keyboard sound and all over, that awesome bass line – at once playing rhythm at another deep in the melody.
It’s music that is impossible to just sit and absorb, it draws you toward the physical nature of the music – your toe starts twitching, suddenly knees are pumping, then the shoulders start to follow the bass line and then the drums catapult you up into a frenzied boogie and you are now trapped in the funk and it’s a good place to be.
It’s a live set, so there is little point in picking out specific tracks – it was laid down as a piece and it works best as such but the closer, ‘Long Way From Home’ and ‘Fever’ are stunning numbers in their own right and I would put ‘Are You Feeling It’ on permanent repeat.