Album Review: Dead Funk Summit from Joe Marcinek

Joe Marcinek consistently puts out great albums with a rotating roster of players. He’s a musician’s musician, well known amongst his peers for his sharp compositions and ability to play with anyone in multiple styles. It reminds me of a quote from legendary Crusaders’ pianist Joe Sample, who said “I get called a lot to play on different albums because I play whatever is needed for that particular session.”

Marcinek definitely has a flair and imprints his sound on this album of all originals playing with Melvin Seals (Dead) and George Porter (Funk) in a slick grouping that shows the collective chops of this veteran crew, in an eight-track delight of an album. We move from straight up funk (Fever Dream), to blues (Still Got It), to some classic fusion (Ethereal) to some hard-edged rock (Delete). Join me in feeling the album with my track by track coverage.

The album was a dream concept for me of combining two legends in music George Porter Jr (the Meters) and Melvin Seals (Jerry Garcia Band) George being the Funk and Melvin from the Grateful Dead world when they came together its the Dead Funk Summit. I wrote music inspired by the musical worlds of the Grateful Dead and New Orleans Funk. After doing a few shows together with this lineup I was inspired to create some original music that would still feel at home in a live show if we played Grateful Dead or Nola songs. Now we have some new original music to contribute to the songbooks.
Joe Marcinek

Track By Track

Fever Dream has a gritty original funk feel with extra soulful vocals from Tony Hall of Dumpstaphunk fame. Melvin Seals is all over the organ keys with major swells and swirls. Pumping up the funk is the on point horn section. Of course, Joe has some excellent shredding time, especially on the back half of the song. Fever Dream has everthing a great opener needs.

Still Got It is a bluesy jam again with Tony Hall on vocals and Joe playing response him. George Porter Jr. has some heavy bass lines reaching out to Melvin Seals with some top shelf organ. Tony says he’s still got the blues and calls out Joe to put his indellible mark on this one with the closeout jam.

Probably Nothing feels like some of the tunes on JMB4 and JMB5 but with heavy touches from Melvin on organ and George on bass. The combo of George and Terrence Houston feels like they’ve been together a long time. Melvin has a excellent extended solo from the middle on the tune through much of the back end that Joe picks up and rolls on. George is up next with a major bass solo. The C-section returns with the main theme to wrap it up.

Ethereal reminds me of some early Return to Forever fusion with a nice opening lead shared between George and Michael Lemmler on keys. Of course, Melvin is gliding in the background giving the tune much of its ethereal feel. His combination with Michael is a great dreamy feel. Joe takes over the midway continuing the journey. Typical of Joe’s albums, everyone gets a chance to shine and Michael does on his solo section here that builds to the close out. This is definitely one of my favorites on the album. 

Melameter grooves hard with a funky theme, full group rollicking along. The whole band is super tight but Melvin really lays down some extra greasy, rolling waves on the B3 for the bridge. He just tears it up – hence the Melameter!? The A section returns for the cruise to the finish.

Delete is the edgiest tune on the album with a power intro from Joe that settles into a rough driving theme. Melvin lays the foundation for Joe and picks up the lead midway with a smoother glide and then yields back to Joe for C-section and he shreds some blues-rock guitar to the end.

Melvin is obviously gonna be a organ heavy tune. Joe and Melvin play the main theme in sync for a super blend. It’s genuine foot-tapping music. Melvin comes center stage midway and he plays as smooth as a silk suit. It’s a definite highlight segment of the album. Joe joins back and they play a stronger back half climbing higher and higher. Joe has a nice few closing bars to a classic ending. Interesting side-note is that on this tune Taylor Galbraith is on drums and Ashley Galbraith is on bass. They are also now members of the new band Eddie Roberts and The Lucky Strokes, the new project for Roberts, the leader of The New Mastersounds.

George fittingly has Porter on bass, playing the repeat 5-note lick with Joe and Melvin following for the head. George and Melvin duo on the midsection in a perfect blend. sum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo. Joe and George go at it next with the rest of the band in a royal jam. George gets the back half solo and brings that iconic GPjr funky sound to the forefronnt. For the final closeout, Terrence Houston has a master course in speed drumming. Such a great ending to and great Marcinek album.

Personnel

Joe Marcinek – Guitar
George Porter Jr – Bass
Melvin Seals – Hammond Organ
Terrence Houston – Drums
Michael Lemmler – Keys
Tony Hall Vocals on Fever Dream and Still Got It
Taylor Galbraith Drums on Melvin
Ashley Galbraith Bass on Melvin