**Onaje Allan Gumbs: "Remember Their Innocence"
(Straight No Chaser Jazz)
As a "funkateer" I have always found "straight no chaser jazz" to be something of an affront to my basic sensibilities (I NEED MAH FUNK). Of course there have been exceptions in the past for me. For example, the music of John Coltrane, Miles Davis and a few others have been different, because they have challenged me to think and to carry me away at the same time. The CD "Remember Their Innocence" is in that vein, I can put this on when I am in a reflective mood and so it goes for the first five tracks. Then suddenly vocalist Branice McKenzie inturupts the silence with the song "Maybe Next Year", makes me smile and think about Sarah Vaughn and now the whole intelectual tip goes right out the window. My favorite song on the album is the spoken word tune callled "All I Hear" w/Sharrif Simmons, which takes us right into Gil Scott-Heron territory, it's a really nice surprise. All in all I guess it's really left on me as to how I would define the term "funk". One way of defining it is to say that it's "music for the head" and if I apply that definition then this album makes the cut. If any of this seems confusing, it shouldn't be, just by the album, take it home, pour yourself a glass of iced tea, put on your headphones and prepare to be transported back to the world of "Black Classical Music" which is really what "straight no chaser jazz" should be called. When you arrive back from your journey, miraculously you will find yourself renewed, re-energized and better prepared to deal with the world as we know it in 2006.