Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Big Ol' Nasty Getdown Pays Tribute To Funk Music

The Big Ol' Nasty Getdown is a unique and comprehensive project that pays homage to the history of American funk music and is dedicated to raising awareness of the genre's huge influence on contemporary music and culture. The Getdown brings together a distinguished and diverse group of talented musicians. The funk collective is made up of a rotating lineup of roughly 90 musicians from 50 touring bands. Some of the musicians involved in the project include members from the following bands: P-Funk, Fishbone, Graham Central Station, Kool & the Gang, Sun Ra Arkestra, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Blackalicious, Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band, Dumpstaphunk and Galactic, to name a few.

And one of the participants in this sprawling, ambitious funk project is none other than Dr. Funkenstein himself: George Clinton. You can't get any funkier than that. Some of the other funk luminaries who participated in this project include Norwood Fisher (bassist and founding member of Fishbone and Trulio Disgracias); the late, great Garry "Starchild" Shider (P-Funk); Patryce “Choc’let” Banks (Graham Central Station); legendary soul singer Sidney Barnes; and P-Funk vocalist Belita Woods (RIP), who passed away just two days ago on May 14.

The Getdown was formed by John Heintz (bassist/founder/producer), John-Paul Miller (multi-instrumentalist/producer) and multi-instrumentalist Derrick Johnson. Heintz is a member of the band Trulio Disgracias, and Miller and Johnson are both members of Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band. The seeds for the Getdown funk project were first planted in New Orleans nearly five years ago with a historical star-studded gathering of musicians. Out of this meeting of the minds grew a supergroup that celebrates funk music and works hard to get the genre the recognition it deserves. The project is a labor of love for all those involved. It's extremely cool that so many talented musicians are involved in this project, as funk is often underappreciated and its massive influence frequently downplayed.

The funk conglomerate will drop its debut album, Volume 1, on May 22. The 11-song collection is filled with incredible music and, of course, plenty of funk. The album kicks off with the sizzling funk track "The Big Ol' Nasty Getdown." The track has a super-tight horn arrangement and a badass bass line (courtesy of Heintz). It's a great groove to set off the album proper. The funk continues with "Include Me," in which P-Funk diva Belita Woods delivers a soulfully gritty vocal performance. The track also features a scorching guitar solo by Eliot Cohen. "I Will Wait For You" is a beautiful ballad that showcases Laura Reed's sultry vocals. And the backing vocals are provided by George Clinton, Garry Shider, Belita Woods and Sidney Barnes. It's just an amazing song.

"College Funk" is a monster jam that features some fantastic horn work by members of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band. John-Paul Miller delivers a dope guitar solo, and Roosevelt Collier kills it on the pedal steel guitar. Following "College Funk," Ralph Roddenbery and Belita Woods duet on the country-soul song "Wake Me Up." It's a stellar track with a devastating chorus.

George Clinton and Sidney Barnes share lead vocals on the outré jazz-funk track "The Beauty of Pretty." Derrick Johnson contributes a great trombone solo on this cut. In addition to the songs mentioned, the other tracks are also top-notch on this impressive debut. Volume 1 is a great listening experience from start to finish and the perfect showcase for the immensely talented members the Big Ol' Nasty Getdown. To learn more about the Getdown and their upcoming album, check out their website.

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