Nov 8, 2011

[REVIEW] @TonyOzier "Beats Galore: Volume 1"


Back when I did the review of Tony Ozier & The Doo Doo Funk All-Stars release, I mentioned that they reminded me, in a way, of Buckshot Lefonque.  Buckshot Lefonque is a collective led by Branford Marsalis and also featured singer Frank McComb.  On their album "Music Evolution", the album sort of ran the gamut between jazz and hip hop and soul music from beginning to end.

And in that sense, Ozier's previous release had that as well.  You had the jazzy funky tracks and then you had the soulful tracks as well.  Now he's back with a brand new digital release which is an instrumental album called "Beats Galore: Volume 1".  In this, Ozier shows off his beatmaking and production skills as he unveils a nice selection of 24 tracks, including various interludes of friends and whatnot leaving messages of support and in some cases just clowning around and having fun. The interludes all have a very strong familial feel to it.  A sense of a family of friends and music peers chiming in and giving their thoughts and well wishes.  It all has a feel good atmosphere to it.

Even Affion Crocket is down with Dookay!
Fans of Ozier's will find things to recognize in this instrumental release, such as his penchant for jazzy soul drenched in funk, however it's also a more refined and restrained series of tracks.  It's kind of like a more reined in Ozier where in this format there's not really the opportunity for the long jam sessions.   I compare it to how some groups perform live as opposed to their studio albums.   A shining example is how some songs on the studio releases are say four and a half minutes long, and in concerts they'll implement various solos and that same song can be expanded to two or three times that.

In fact, there's a bootleg of Jamiroquai I have where their song "When You Gonna Learn" was originally just over four minutes, and in this one concert it's a massive 30+ minute jam session. So I think a lot of people who are familiar with them from their live shows have grown accustomed to the free flowing improvisational aspects to the Dookie Jam sessions.Here, while there are still that jazzed up soul dunked and smothered in that nasty funk, it's a more streamlined and focused venture.    All the talent is there, all the excellent music, funk, jazz, soul, etc is there that you're used to.  Just the studio version of Tony rather than the live improv aspect.

Both are awesome and both have their benefits.   Perhaps you can look at this like what you'd listen to if you had somewhere to be in an hour.  Obligations that you can't miss.  Live Dookie Jams are what you go to when you know you ain't shit to do the next day and you don't have to be up early the next morning, so you can stay there as long as they're willing to go. Some of the standout tracks on here include "Back to the Mitten" which incorporates elements of a certain classic 90's R&B track.  I kept thinking while listening to it "man this sounds familiar" and then the chorus kicked in and I was like the Kool-Aid man saying, "OHHHHH Yeah!"  That was definitely a highlight of my listening to this.

Other tracks like "The Nastyness" and "Cutty Nashty" were also very funky and definitely banging tracks.  One of my very favorites though is the track simply titled "B", which was a tribute to the late guitarist Barry Hampton, who had played with the Doo Doo Funk All-Stars, as well as being a well known Portland area musician.   Yet this tribute was not a sad somber tune, it was a very upbeat and funky ode, which I think Hampton would have been proud of.  I believe that you should pay tribute to someone in the manner in which they lived.

When Wayman Tisdale passed away a few years ago I was devastated and just floored.  He was one of my favorite musicians and it seemed he was doing so well with his cancer, despite having lost one of his legs below the knee.  Through it all he maintained his same cheerful attitude that he's always seemingly had.   Everytime you saw him he had a big grin on his face because he knew that his life was blessed beyond imagination.

His overwhelming belief in God and his realization that he was living the good life with family and friends surrounding him allowed him to face a daunting task that is cancer and still keep his spirits up.  Cancer's a hard thing to deal with, I imagine, and he always remained upbeat.  So despite my just being incredibly shocked and saddened by his passing, I know that he would never want people to mourn his passing.  He would want people to go on and celebrate what he stood for.   To keep on playing, to keep on fighting, to keep on loving life and your fellow people and most of all keep on loving yourself.

So I think that Ozier's crafted a very loving tribute to the guitarist in the best way possible.  Maintain that same funk that you knew he was down with and do it right.

All in all this is a solid digital release here, that you can pick up at Tony's Bandcamp page.  I've included a widget below that you can just click on, and I've also added a widget up at the top of my page for it as well.   It's definitely worth picking up, and I give this a high recommendation!

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