Soul-Patrol Newsletter

SPN: Jazz/Funk From Heads Up: George Duke, SMV - Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten, reviews, commentary, audio and video
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This has been a great year for the music that used to be called "jazz." I have been smiling all year because over the past 15 years or so, this music had truly lost it's way and along the way, had truly lost touch with the people. In 2008 people are looking for substance, not just style and they have been getting it. Clearly the 2008 Presidential election campaign coupled with the deepening global economic crisis has been a catalyst for this.

People are now DEMANDING THEIR MONEY'S WORTH in all aspects of their lives, including music.

For example, we have seen the demise of the predictable, empty & worthless Smooth Jazz radio format as one of the manifestations of this trend. Jazz isn't supposed to be "background music", it's supposed to be right up front and in your face. It's supposed to be improvisational music that challenges the listener to accept the notion of improvisation as a way of life.

In 2008 on it's jazz pages, has reported on many entities that are taking jazz back to it's improvisational roots and as a result been successfully re-connecting with the people. This has been seen in everything from various reunions from the Miles Davis camp, to the impact on younger people of the Global Noize collective, the upstart "CTIish" nuGroove record label, the release of Chip Shelton's album "Imbued With Memories", artists such as Maceo Parker & Candy Dulfer scoring high on the charts, the Return To Forever Reunion Tour, Victor Wooten's Tour, Marcus Miller's crossover success, the return of instrumental R&B and a whole lot more.

In fact it seems like we kicked off this entire thing with our JAZZ PANEL @ the 2007 SOUL-PATROL TOWN HALL with Moderator Tee Watts with, Geri Allen- Artist/Activist, Kayte Connelly- Former Berks Jazz Fest Exec Dir, Kenny Mead- Jazz Producer, TS Monk- Artist/Activist, Onaje Allan Gumbs- Artist/Activist (from 5/27/2007). Covering topics such as: Is jazz for whites only? Is "smooth jazz" destroying Black Culture? Is jazz in a crisis? Why is jazz off the radar of young people? and more...

Here in this issue of the Soul-Patrol Newsletter we are going to focus on two new releases from the Heads Up label that we think are a further manifestation of this trend:

--George Duke - "Dukey Treats"
--SMV (Stanley, Marcus & Victor) - "Thunder"

As you scroll down you will not only be able to read new album reviews, concert reviews & interviews, but also find links for related audio & video for these two outstanding albums.

Check it all out, let me know what cha think and stay tuned to the Soul-Patrol Newsletter as we continue to report on just how jazz is finding it's way back to the people!!!

Thanks in advance...

--Bob Davis

Album Review: SMV's "Thunder" (SMV is Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller and Victor Wooten)

Click Here to get more info about SMV's Thunder (SMV is Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller and Victor Wooten) 3 classic bass players got together and created some serious magic with this album.....this album is a masterpiece that stands on the same level of Parliament's "Mothership Connection" or Jimi Hendrix "Electric Ladyland".

"Maestros de las Frecuencias Bajas" - starts off with a majestic intro of classic synthesizer & horns.....then it's off to funky bass land.....I just wished I knew which bass player performed what!

"Thunder" - the best song if you want POWERFUL BASS FUNK....Stanley Clarke laid some of the nastiest, loudest bass licks during the hook. One can hear the wild, lightning fast bass rompings of Victor Wooten during the middle of this song, including a riff from The O'Jays "For The Love of Money".

"Hillbillies on a Quiet Afternoon" - this mid-tempo song continues with the lethal bass funk assault. Nice to see George Duke adding his special funk here spice on the clavinet.

"Mongoose Walk" - slightly-slower paced jazz tune with a very nice piano solo by Chick Corea.

"Los Tres Hermanos (The 3 Brothers)" - the first minute of subdued jazz builds up into a lively, romantic jazz journey featuring some wicked bass riffing, including some excellent "fast mandolin-plucking"-style bass riffs.

"Lopsy Lu - Silly Putty (medley)" - back to the funk in process.....lots of funk basses a-blazin' and an interesting high-pitched mini-moog solo by George Duke.

"Milano" - a very subdued jazz with slow upright bass riffs that breaks into some very fast-tempo (almost galloping-style) bass romping and percussion work.

"Classical Thump (jam)" - JAM, THAT IT IS - BABA!!! VICTOR WOOTEN and Marcus Miller give a darn good lesson in serious FONK BASS! Lightning-fast and slappin' bass licks makes this almost 5 minutes in length, this track is potent enough to induce a pleasure overload in the average listener's brain and cause seizures!!

"Tutu" - the very dance-able funky jam that features Stanley on acoustic bass and some vocals by Butterscotch. The tight drumming is provided by none other than J.D. BLAIR!!

"Lil' Victa" - a slow tune that repeatedly jumps into the land of serious funk-rock, featuring some head-spinning, fast, nasty poppin' bass licks by Victor and some powerful drumming by Ronald Bruner, Jr.

"Pendulum" - a mildly-engaging jazz tune....nothing to really write about this.

"Lemme Try Your Bass" (interlude) - a short but very sweet funk bass session between bass masters Stanley Clarke and Victor Wooten.

"Grits" - funky ending to the SMV experience...interesting enough, this song is similar to something out of the Soulive (NYC-based modern jazz-funk trio) catalog.

-David Brooks a/k/a Dr. Brookenstein

SMV Video Link

SMV Purchase Link

Look for songs from SMV's Thunder playing on Nu Soul @

--Bob Davis

George Duke - "Dukey Treats"

Click Here to get more info about George Duke -  Dukey Treats It's "P-Funk meets GRP"

Have you ever eaten pancakes with Karo syrup on them? Well if you have, then you know that it doesn't much more "real" than that. I've been getting a ton of brand new music in that sounds like it's from "another dimension of time and space", this time instead of coming from some unknown/indy artist, it comes from a familiar name indeed.

If I were a real album reviewer, I would describe this album as "jazz-funk from one of the artists who helped define the genre." But since I'm not, I'll simply describe this album as...A SUPER HELLIFIED HOUSE PARTY IN A BOX!!

This album should be thought of as an LP, that's really two distinct types of albums from the past on each side

SIDE 1: The P-Funk Type stuff:

We all know that George Duke (along with Stanley Clarke) made what was perhaps the NASTIEST P-Funk cover song of all time, back in the late 80's when they did that STANK-AZZ cover of "Mothership Connection." However on "Dukey Treats" he takes things to the next level.

This might just be the best P-Funk tribute album ever made, without covering any actual P-Funk songs! George Duke sounds a whole lot like Bernie Worrell on keyboards, and the vocalists sound like Bootsy, Glen Goins, Ray Davis, George Clinton, Fuzzy Haskins, Dawn Silva & Malia Frankin (but it's not)!!

The songs Everyday Hero, A Fonk Tail, Dukey Treats, Mercy, Creepin' [Ghoulie Remix] all sound like they could have easily been a part of the "Mothership Connection" or "Chocolate City" albums of the 1970's.

SIDE 2 - The GRP Type stuff:

The songs; I Tried to Tell You, Listen Baby, I Tried to Tell You, Somebody Laid It on Us, Right on Time, Sudan, Are You Ready, Images of Us would all feel right at home on a GRP album. Remember the GRP label of the 1980's? This was a pretty cool label that kinda merged together the concepts of the Quincy Jones albums of the 1980's with the CTI groove of the 1970's. In other words, it's a cool type of funky/fusion between R&B/Jazz (some instrumental & some vocal), that pre-dates smooth jazz.

Overall, this is a VERY cool album, given to us by an artist who probably has eaten his pancakes with Karo syrup on them.

--Bob Davis

George Duke Video Link

George Duke Purchase Link

Look for songs from George Duke's "Dukey Treats playing on Nu Soul @

--Bob Davis

Concert Review: SMV - Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller & Victor Wooten: 8/19/2008 @ Keswick Theatre in Philly

Stanley Clarke/Marcus Miller/Victor Wooten Tuesday night turned out to be mind blowing. The funk would make your hair plugs stand up!

The Thunder Tour featuring Stanley Clarke, Victor Wooten and Marcus Miller rolled its way into the Keswick Theater in Philadelphia. It was a homecoming for Stanley as he was in the "City of Brotherly Love", for this appearance. Earlier this summer he was with his band mates from Return To Forever for their reunion tour.

Stanley quipped backstage before the show, "I'm glad I can do this while I'm still young!" Clarke used to worry about being the oldest guy in, but he commented "These guys are good guys, very talented, and I have known them both since they were kids." Clarke also commented that Miller and Wooten are the cream of the crop while taking a break during the performance.

This super lineup of Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller and Victor Wooten did not occur overnight but was in the making for more than 15 years. What started the wheels turning for the SMV tour was when Stanley received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Bass Players Live Conference and Concert in 2006. In an impromptu performance, Miller and Wooten joined Clarke on stage jamming for the 900 people in attendance.

The show opened up with Jasmine Kelly and her group that played to a packed house of 1300 of perhaps a 50/50 racial mix. Her set was bright and cheerful and her guitar work is exceptional.

Soon after a short break to change the stage, SMV came to the stage with a thunderous ovation from the crowd of many Soul Patrollers in attendance that are also fans of Clarke, Wooten, and Miller. At three artists currently have their solo albums out in addition to the SMV recording.

SMV opened the show with a thundering salvo of bass licks. By the way the ensemble consisted of keyboards, drums and the three bassists. Clarke clearly shows that he was the elder statesman by exhibiting his mastery to his "students" and the crowd. It was time for the funk to hit the fan.

In a comment from an Allentown Soul Patrol member in attendance, "I've been lucky enough to see some of the greats. Stevie Wonder, Prince, Miles Davis, Aretha, Teena Marie, Jill Scott and on and on. But after seeing Stanley Clarke play "Milano" on acoustic bass tonight, I do believe I witnessed pure musical genius. I'm not ashamed to say that brought tears to my eyes. It was such an amazing night of music...real funkin'' music!
What a soul lift it was to look around at such a diverse audience. especially the young ones...all loving, knowing and supporting real music. Gonna be hard to top this show."

Now only was Clarke's performance outstanding, but Marcus Miller showed his mastery on baritone saxophone as the trio performed his composition "Tutu" that was a bit hit for Miles Davis. Most folks don't realize that Miller plays several instruments.

Victor Wooten did not take a back seat either. He led the group on several excursions' and traded licks with Clarke and Miller. In tribute to close friend who had just passed, Wooten did a beautiful adaptation of the Gospel tune "Pass Me Not Oh Gentile Savior".

The 2 1/2 hour show included 12 tunes many of which were composed by all three for the SMV release. The show ended like it started, with the crowd on its feet, thunderous, as the group performed Clarke's classic "Lopsy Lu"

Wooten commented on the tour backstage by saying "This is intense, but I'm having fun." All three artists commented on the many old and new fans that have come to the concerts so far this summer.

The group will soon be winding up the US portion of the tour and heading around the world.

--Kevin Amos

SMV Video Link

SMV Purchase Link

Look for songs from SMV's Thunder playing on Nu Soul @

A Few Minutes with the Legendary George Duke
(Great Black Music From The Ancient To The Future)

Click Here to get more info about George Duke -  Dukey Treats If there was ever an artist whose career truly embodies the term "Great Black Music From The Ancient To The Future", it's George Duke! A couple of weeks ago I had a chance to talk with George Duke in a short telephone conversation from Los Angeles, about both his career and his new album called "Dukey Treats."

Geoge Duke On Musical Categories:

Since I had never spoken with George Duke before I started out the conversation by introducing myself to him and explaining what the website was about. I told him that I had been a fan of his music since the 1970's and that although the site itself had it's origins in the music of the 1970's (specificly funk music), that it had long since evolved to have a much wider scope. Today the scope of the site was something that we refered to (borrowed from the AACM) as "Great Black Music From The Anicent To The Future." George stopped me right there and said; "I am totally comfortable with that, because that's exactly what my music is and for that reason, many people have a difficult time trying to categorize me or my music." George said; "musicians & albums should not be bound by categories such as rock, r&b, straight ahead jazz, etc. My albums are always multi-stylistic and try to take people on a musical adventure."

George Duke On The New Album Dukey Treats:

"In the Beginning I thought that I was gonna do a straight up funk album. Of course as I got into it, the album evolved into a tribute to the old school and so far the response has been overwhelming. The album contains a whole lotta funk music, I am a huge fan of George Clinton and I am a full blown Funkateer. I wanted to have some fun with the funk and also pay tribute to that music for people who weren't here the first time around. The album also contains some songs which have a mellow jazzy/r&b kinda flava as well because I also wanted to pay tribute to that style of music as well. The album also has some serious cuts on it that deal with the situation in Dafar, designed to rasie awareness. The album is called DUKEY TREATS, because my nickname is DUKEY." It also has some special guests like Howard Hewitt & Teena Marie! I asked George if he was concerned that there might be some folks who might be "confused" because of the multiple kinds of styles and he said "my albums have always contained multiple musical styles. They shouldn't care about the styles and simply judge the music on it's own worth."

George Duke on Stanley Clarke, Frank Zappa & Other Influences:

--Stanley Clarke: Stanley and I have worked together often in the past and may do so again in the future. Right now he is working with Victor Wooten & Marcus Miller on a bass players project called "Thunder" and he is also working on the movie "Soul Men", which is due out soon. I told George that although I liked his & Stanley's cover of "Mothership Connection", I liked their funked up cover of "Louie Louie", from the same album even better. George laughed and said that "the critcs hated our version of "Louie Louie", in fact one critic said that it was the worst version of the song that had ever been done. I don't think that they liked the idea that a couple of "jazz-funk" guys were covering the song." I told George that in my opinion those critics don't know what they are talking about and that in fact, I'd be willing to bet that it's author, Richard Berry would have loved George & Stanley's version.

--Frank Zappa: Frank Zappa was very eclectic. At the time when I met Frank Zappa, I was a straight ahead jazz player and he encouraged me to expand. Frank Zappa taught me how to make music that was commercial and experimental at the same time.

--Other Influences: Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, Ray Charles, Ramsey Lewis, Les McCann, Bill Evans, Chick Corea and my Church Organist when I was a kid.

I enjoyed my conversation with George Duke. I told him at the beginning of the call that I don't like to do telephone interviews at all, but that I wanted to get his input for this edition of the Soul-Patrol Newsletter. He put me at ease quickly, told me that he was familiar with the Newsletter and had been getting it via email. George also told me that when he came east we could get together in person for a longer interview. All in all he seems like a pretty cool guy that knows exactly where he wants to go from both a musical & business perspective, even though as fans we should be used to being surprised by George Duke.

--Bob Davis

George Duke Video Link

George Duke Purchase Link

Look for songs from George Duke's "Dukey Treats playing on Nu Soul @

--Bob Davis

The Jazz/Funk Collection From Heads Up Records:
George Duke, SMV - Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten

If you have a news item, update, review, commentary, etc that you would like to submit to the Soul-Patrol Newsletter, please send them via email for consideration to:

Hopefully you enjoyed this edition of the Soul-Patrol Newsletter.
We will be back soon with the next edition, with email alerts for local events, Soul-Patrol website updates/chat sessions or breaking news in between, as required.

If you have any comments, questions, etc feel free to drop me an email and let me know what's on your mind.
Bob Davis

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