Some great funk jazz
San Diego flutist Bradley Leighton creates a rich, thick soup of funk jazz on his latest album, "Just Doin' Our Thang." It's a wholly pleasant sound that possesses the accessibility of George Benson, the straight-ahead chops of Les McCann or Weather Report, and the swirling rhythms of Tower of Power or War.
While this is Leighton's session, his name on the album, he is remarkably unpossessive of solo time, giving his co-horts as much room to stretch out as he saves for himself. In fact, some of the tracks sound more like it's Leighton in the supporting role.
In particular, he gives organist Rob Whitlock and guitarist Bob Boss every possible opportunity to solo.
The results are uniformly outstanding, and this unusual mixture of alto flute, organ and guitar gives the album a contemporary lounge sound it's bright, hip and so very, very cool. Drummer Duncan Moore and percussionist Allan Phillips (who also wrote the arrangements) provide the uptempo beat that keeps pushing the music along.
The song selection is mostly covers of jazz classics, with a few originals thrown in. The covers range from Bobby Womack's "Breezin'" (owing much to Benson's version), Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" and the pop chestnut "Sunny" to sturdier material like the Gershwin standard "Summertime" and Charlie Parker's "Now's the Time." All are given fresh arrangements, and each manages to bring out new sides to what are, after all, very familiar songs.
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