DOWN TO THE BONE: Future Boogie (Label: Shanachie)

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DOWN TO THE BONE: Future Boogie

Stuart Wade and his Down To The Bone crew have been purveying their good grooves since the mid 90s and for this, their brand new collection, the collective have pacted with the Shanachie label. And yes, the Down To The Bone sound sits well in the Shanachie catalogue – it’s a perfect confection of jazz and soul grooves with an accessibility that many instrumentalists strive for but few achieve. Of the ten cuts on offer, seven are straight instrumentals and the band’s fans will know exactly what to expect – passionate playing, good grooves and memorable melodies. In places you’ll be reminded of the Crusaders (‘We’ve Always Got The Music’), the Average White Band (‘Get On It’) or even Brass Construction (‘Smash And Grab’) but you’ll be left in no doubt that the sound is indubitably Down To The Bone’s. There are three wonderful vocal cuts too – well, in truth two and a half, since the Roy Ayers-guested ‘Good To Me’ isn’t a full on vocal. Fans of the vibe meister will understand when we say that the cut is a loose and lengthy vibe workout over which Roy interjects vocally as and when the spirit moves him – it’s infectious … as much of his work is. The two ‘proper’ vocals come courtesy of Hil St. Soul and they are ‘Should’ve Been You’ and ‘The Brighter Side’. Both are excellent but the disappointment is that they’re both similar in approach . The two tunes are bright and fast-ish – with some great interplay between the vocal and the brass players that recall the way Tower Of Power do it. There are some cool keys too – especially on ‘Should’ve Been You’ – take a bow Neil Angilley. Indeed the whole collective have nailed it, creating a sound that is unique and easily identifiable.
(BB) 4/5