Vital Info is back with another release exploring their American music roots. A perfect example is Mr. T.C.
which is a high powered funk workout harking back to Booker T and the MGs. With B-3 organ prominent, the band adds some twists and turns, giving the music a modern flavor. The Booker T feel stays for Shagadelic Boogaloo
. Smith delivers a funky Motown boogaloo beat with Coster’s B-3 again at the helm. Guitarist Gambale adds flavor with his jazzy chords and solo. It’s great to hear a guitar without all the effects that are used today. Bassist Browne holds down the bottom end, locking in with Smith’s drums. This song is just plain fun. Soul Principle
features Fender Rhodes piano and is an homage to the classic Headhunters sound. The rhythm section keeps things snakey while Gambale solos on top. Our Man In Louisiana
has Coster on accordion and is a funky bayou flavored number. Coster’s accordion solo dances on top of Smith’s press rolls. The band keeps it greasy. The aptly named Sideways Blues
is a swinging number that lets everybody step out. On his solo, Browne shows himself to be an agile and creative player. The real star here is Steve Smith. His solo over the band’s changes is exciting and shows him to be one of the best technical drummers around today. He brings the time in and out, turns it around, and never misses a beat. His smoothness and fluidity are reminiscent of the late, great Buddy Rich.The Fire Still Burns
is sort of drum ‘n’ bass meets Hendrix, while Cranial #5 Awaken The Hoodoo
hearkens back to Coster’s days in the 70’s Santana band. This driving song also has a heavy feel reminiscent of Tony Williams’s Lifetime. Gingerbread Boy
features Coster on accordion. The tune swings, driven by Browne and Smith.
These are virtuoso musicians who are also tasteful players. Far from being a chopsfest
, they know when to turn it on and when to play as part of a band. This is great music. If you have a chance to see them live, by all means do. Highly recommended.