Released On: Jun 19, 2007
Released By: Blue Note
Led by Stuart Wade, Down to the Bone's music has been irresistible from the start, as evidence on the critically acclaimed 1997 debut, Manhattan to Staten. Its five succeeding discs, proved it to be one of the most enthralling and consistently hard-hitting bands to emerge out of the U.K.'s esteemed jazz-funk scene. Following their recent Best Of album, Supercharged, Down to the Bone's seventh original album, the popular British funk ensemble pulls off the uncanny feat of simultaneously beefing up its sonic palette, while retaining their characteristically raw intensity. In lesser hands, the addition of the three horns (here, billed as the D.C. Horns) to support Paul "Shilts" Weimar's scalding tenor saxophone riffs and melodies would extinguish the group's energetic groove. But the rhythmic engine of drummer Adam Riley, alternating bassists Richard Sadler and Julian Crampton, and guitarist Tony Remy keeps the fire burning.
Supercharged packs a punch from beginning to end. While echoes of Sly & the Family Stone, Maceo Parker, Tower of Power, Cold Blood, Booker T. & the MGs, and the Average White Band permeate the disc, Down to Bone retains its signature sound with all-out funk grooves. Corrina Greyson and returning collaborator, Hill St. Soul, lend their respective, soulful voices on the contagious, mid-tempo groove "Smile to Shine" and the more aggressive romp, "Shake It Up." The entire disc smokes throughout, yet the one track that demands attention is "Electric Vibes," featuring legendary vibraphonist Roy Ayers. Wade says that it was a lifetime dream to finally collaborate with Ayers. "Ayers is linked with practically every funk movement in the U.K. since the '70s," Wade claims, when asked about the vibraphonist's eminence in England. "There's a whole new generation in London, mainly the broken beat cats, who do soul music -- people like I.G. Culture, Kaidi Tatham, Mark de-Clive Lowe, Daz-I-Kue." On Supercharged, Wade goes two steps further to making a more powerful and funkier sound by taking the project in a new direction.