Special Big Band edition capturing that huge horn driven sound along with some new terrific releases.  This set will keep you movin’ and groovin’ with rapid beats and lotsa horn bleats. We’ll tie together all the loose ends to tell how each song blends.

  1. Bokanté & Metropole Orkest – All the Way Home:  This is the fist single off the upcoming album “What Heat”, available in the US on October 5th.  Bokanté, the world music “side” project for Michael League, bassist and leader of Snarky Puppy goes all out on the second album and brings in the Metropole Orkest which of course collaborated with Snarky Puppy on the Grammy award winning album Sylva.  Not to mention that Bokanté is already chock full of talent including the inimitable Roosevelt “the Dr.” Collier on pedal steel guitar, Weedie Braimah, master percussionist and Malika Tirolien on vocals.  This intro song to our set sets the tone for things to come.
  2. Electric Kif – Electric Spliffs:  Technically these guys are not a big band but having seen them live last night, I can attest to their huge sound.  This cut is off an early album and features a three piece horn section so they fit nicely as a table setter here.  Also, they’re good friends with the GroundUp Music Festival family having appeared at both of the first two years’ programs.   You can catch their full set on YouTube here – https://youtu.be/625Yije5ZGs
  3. Naughty Professor – Prune Juice:  NP is a horn band flat out.  I know – there are many bands with great horn sections out there — but trust me, these guys put the horns out front and they serve as the “voice” for the band on virtually all of their material.  And they’re tight, tight, tight.  Check out this tune, one of my early favorites from the boys from NOLA.
  4. The Tommy Igoe Groove Conspiracy – Quarter Master: Yes, this is another Snarky Puppy tune and in fact, Michael League, sat in with Tommy Igoe and the Groove Conspiracy for his tune on this album.  Tommy, a great drummer and teach brings masters of jazz together including such luminaries  as, Randy Brecker, James Genus, and Tom Politzer (Tower of Power).  The whole album is killer and you might want to add it to your playlist.
  5. New Cool Collective & Thierno Koite – Rumbón:  These guys from The Netherlands have been cookin’ for 25 years now and I’ve grooved with them almost since day one.  They mix it up between their regular band of ~9 core players and collaborative albums including big band arrangements of which this is one.  Their arrangements are timeless and swinging.
  6. The New Orleans Suspects – Swampthang: Another NOLA band that’s not big but holy smokes they do bring the heat.  This tune highlights the great sax work of Jeff Watkins who was the arranger for Joss Stone and also the saxman for non other than James Brown.  This songs highlights his fantastic altissimo work – just unbelievable and in league with Lenny Pickett, coming up later in the set.
  7. Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band – High Maintenance: Gordon Goodwin formed the Big Phat Band in 1999 write and record big band genre music and over time it evolved into a real thing.  His guests on different records have been stellar including David Sanborn on “Play That Funky Music” and each member of the band is a true virtuoso.
  8. Louis Cole – Weird Part of the Night: Louis Cole, half of the group Knower strikes out on his own with this solo album.  He’s a wrecking crew by himself and this tune has a fast tempo, fat sound.  And, the album, “Time” was just released and it’s hums.
  9. Maceo Parker – Cold Sweat – This James Brown tune is taken from Maceo’s album Roots & Grooves, a two-disc set cut with Germany’s WDR Big Band.  One disc covers Ray Charles and the second, from which this cut is taken hits with pure funk — this cut is particularly notable for the great Fred Wesley solo on trombone.
  10. Lenny Pickett & UMO Jazz Orchestra – The Prescription: LP, one of our favorite tenor players and widely recognized as the greatest altissimo player of all time, released just his second solo album a few years back.  Of course, it’s not solo since it features the UMO Jazz Orchestra and this tune is the title track. (You may know Lenny best as the leader of the Saturday Night Live band but he was the lead sax man for Tower of Power in the glorious ’70s.
  11. Joe Zawinul – Brown Street – Live: Zawinul was the leader and a co founder of the band Weather Report, one of the original jazz fusion bands of the ’70s.  Later in his life he had a string of great recordings. This tune off the album of the same name was recorded also with the WDR Big Band and its production values are top notch.
  12. Consider the Source – Ninjanuity:  Another non big band but CTS, a trio, has one of the fullest sounds around.  Gabe Marin plays a synth hookup double neck guitar, Jeff Mann pounds the shit out of the skins and John Ferrara is possibly the most skilled bassist on the planet.  Gabe can simulate multiple instruments and if you close your eyes you wouldn’t know otherwise – this is a taste — check out CTS on your own if you don’t know them.
  13. Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra – Dizzily Dazzled:  This nine+ piece band has been around for more than 25 years and rose from the Tokyo street/club scene. They’ve played the U.S. a number of times including Bonaroo and their high energy is unbelievable.
  14. Funk You – Supernatural: Shout out to my homies Funk You who will be headlining Terminal West on September 1 for their next album release party.  They’ve been rippin’ up clubs across the country for the last couple of years and can’t wait to hear their new shit.
  15. Chester Thompson – Squib Cakes – live:  CT is probably the greatest B3 player ever and was the player on many of Tower of Power’s top hits in the day, including Squib Cakes, which he also wrote.  Chester went on to a long 20+ year career with Santana after his ToP stint.  I’m still stoked from seeing Squib Cakes live twice when ToP rolled through town two weeks ago. Enjoy this live version of Squib Cakes, sans horns with CT hitting full stride.
  16. The Nth Power – Thirsty: The Nth Power will be hitting Terminal West Atlanta Tuesday night with  Jennifer Hartswick and James Casey of TAB.  Always enjoy their shows and this is another one that can’t miss.
  17. Snarky Puppy & Metropole Orkest – Atchafalaya: Last and certainly not least, check out this New Orleans style funk fantasy again with Metropole Orkest and our buds, Snarky Puppy.  This cut is off the Sylva album which of course won the Grammy in 2016 for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album.

That wraps up this week’s playlist.  Hope you listen and enjoy it here –