Deep into the groove
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.
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