Anyone buying this as the latest Joe Bonamassa album will be shocked but for those of us who know about Tal Bergman the sheer depth of funk and groove on this album it is business as usual – very good business at that.
The music is straight out of the late seventies- mid-eighties, CTI led, jazz groove but it is so fresh that it could only have been made today. The music bubbles and slashes across the rhythms and the twin guitars added to the keyboards of Renato Neto fight and swap riffs back and forth throughout. Mike Merritt plays wondrous fluid and on-point bass and his work with Bergman drives the music like a bullet-train on speed
Ron DeJesus is a superb guitar partner for Bonamassa (or the other way around) and the music seems to be built to feature the two duellists but everywhere you look the band are improvising and playing off each other, testing and building musical relationships.
This is music that is impossible to make without the enormous talent that has supported the likes of Billy Joel, Chaka Khan, Tito Puente, Springsteen, LL Cool J, Levon Helm ... you name a superstar and the chances are that they have had one of these guys in their band at some time or another. The other thing that has to be said about this album is that it is goddam listenable to. Think of Parliament at their peak or Kool & The Gang, try and conjure up Weather Report of Chick Corea’s Forever – that good.
“It really was the definition of collaboration, one of those records where you want to bottle the vibe and save it for all albums,” says Bonamassa and that comes through on every track here.
I didn’t expect to be describing this as a masterpiece – I expected to be wondering what the hell Bonamassa was up to now – but I am converted. Funk album of the year – probably.