Music Review

Book Reviews and Reading Diary
CD Buying Guide and Music Links
Best-of lists
CD Reviews
CDs, sorted by Style
CDs, sorted by year issued
CDs, sorted by publication review ran in
CDs by San Diego bands
All CDs, sorted by band name
All CDs, sorted by album title
Favorite quotations
Contact Me

Deep into the groove

More Beets
More Beets
By Zbonics

4 Track Mind Records: 2008

This review first appeared in the September 25, 2008 issue of the North County Times.

As longtime drummer for the Greyboy Allstars, the San Diego-based combo that helped fuel the soul-jazz revival of the '90s, Zak Najor knows a little about funk rhythms. Fronting a collection of friends (including fellow Allstars Karl Denson, Chris Stillwell and Robert Walter) he's dubbed Zbonics, Najor delves even deeper into the funk than the Allstars. In fact, on the first recording under the Zbonics name, Najor and pals get deeper into the bass/drums grooves than even Walter has on his solo projects.

With a heavy '70s West Coast vibe, Zbonics sounds as if they could have shared a bill with Tower of Power or War. Like both of those legendary California bands, Zbonics incorporates huge swaths of jazz and classic rock into its brand of funk. Even on the rap-tinged "Laziness," the groove is more along early Sugarhill Gang or Run DMC than the hardcore styles that developed later.

It turns out that Najor is also a solid singer, with a nice voice and a style that just drips with soul. The 11 songs he wrote and co-wrote are also quality; "Day to Day," which features Walter on keyboards, could have come right off the "Car Wash" soundtrack, while "What Will You Do" (also featuring Walter) has a Funkadelic / Parliament vibe to it.