Zoho Roots 2013
Grammy-infested party throws an infectious line between mental and cerebral, with a FAMILY member in tow.
THE FAMILY STONE occupied the rough end of soul and funk, Sly Stone’s psychological imbalance igniting the band’s music as much as his fiery social rhetoric did. Today, though, a different kind of riot is goin’ on, with club culture somehow disconnected from street cred, and Jason Miles, a synthesizer programmer for the likes of Miles Davis and Michael Jackson and keyboard player with Aretha Franklin, decided to cut this umbilical cord completely, give the groove a polish and take it to the dancefloor.
To do it in quite an imaginative way, as the title of a new album by GLOBAL NOIZE, the producer’s team-up with DJ Logic, suggests, now their ever-fluctuating line-up include not only an impressive singing talent but also Sly’s original drummer Greg Errico who keeps the line straight while the others make it slick – never more so than in closer “Dreams” with its fluttering flute. Smoothing erstwhile grit by cutting the Mice Elf playfulness out of “Thank You For Talkin’ To Me Africa” with its heavy brass ‘n’ bass in favor of domestic bliss that’s so enjoyable in “It’s A Family Affair” which kicks an adventurous gear once the scratching gets overshadowed with the “Mumbai Mix” of this classic with Falu adding vocal arabesques to Roberta Flack and James “D-Train” Williams’ silky duet peppered with Bashiri Johnson’s percussion.
In her turn, Nona Hendryx injects enough grime in the organ-oiled sleaze of the catchy “The Same Thing” and transparent “In Time” where funk is reined in to reign tastefully on “Fun” as Maya Azucena, who does a cooing cameo on the former, lets rip on the latter in the boppy company of Ron Holloway’s sax. On “You Can Make It If You Try” Miles delivers a delicious a cosmically conscious solo and steps back before Jay Rodriguez’s fiercely, yet sparsely, swinging tenor, although the same ivories lead “Stand!” away from revolution and into the disco field.
And that’s exactly the point of it: after all, it’s revolution in the heads that cannot be televised yet works on a subliminal level. A beautiful, if slightly misplaced noize, then.