The Fearless FlyersTailwinds is a debut album of an offshoot supergroup featuring Cory Wong and Joe Dart from Vulfpeck, Mark Lettieri from Snarky Puppy, and an ace drummer Nate Smith (Dave Holland, Jose James, Chris Potter ). Tailwinds is their first full-length album following its two EPs, Fearless Flyers I and Fearless Flyers II. They’ve performed a few live shows including opening for Vulfpeck at the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden. The Delta Force horn section of Alekos Syropoulos, Kenni Holmen and Grace Kelly with horn arrangements by Michael Nelson also contributed to the record. A killer record.
2. Black Mantra Black Mantra (Black Mantra)
Black Mantra self-titled second album is one of our biggest discoveries of 2020. Black Mantra is formed in 2014 funk and soul big band from São Paulo, Brazil. Highly inspired by James Brown, Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley, The JBs, Anderson Paak, Marcos Valle and Gerson King Combo. They bring together a repertoire with reinterpretations of funk songs from the 70s, without their clichés and adapted versions, built with the paradoxical and minimalist simplicity of Funk 70's.
3. Lettuce Resonate (Round Hill Records)
LettuceResonate is the follow-up to their 2019 album Elevate, which get more than 3 million streams, hit No. 1 on both the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Albums Chart and iTunes Top R&B Albums Chart, and earned the band their first collective Grammy nomination in the category of Best Contemporary Instrumental Album. The band stated: "we see this album as kind of a continuation of our last album. We recorded 30-odd tracks for the last one and part of them became Elevate. Now the rest became Resonate, and the names are similar because we see both records as part of a series". Resonate is as funky as you can get, taking its influences from different genres, including jazz, psychedelic rock, electronica, hip hop.
Redtenbacher Funkestra The Hang is the band's 12th album recorded live at Masterlink Studio with a very vibrant team of players. The Funkestra is probably best known for being a large ensemble horn band that has featured horn sections and band members from James Brown, Tower of Power, Incognito and the New Power Generation, being inspired by Jazz Funk bands of the 70s like The Brecker Brothers, The Meters, The Crusaders and The Average White Band. Masterlink sessions featuring many of the world's best vocal artists - have accumulated nearly 2 million Spotify streams with their own brand of groovy Jazz Funk.
5. The Allergies Say The Word (Jalapeno Records)
The AllergiesSay The Word is the latest album from the Bristol duo of Rackabeat and DJ Moneyshot. The band continues their patent blend of fat laced hip-hop and funk for the hip bone, ready and waiting to tear the ring pull off so the party can flood out. Say The Word packs a killer punch of chunky breaks, finger-licking throwdowns, and soft-shoe steppers to ensure the boogie will never leave your body. The Allergies’ latest dancefloor crusade lines up serial collaborator Andy Cooper of Ugly Duckling.
06. Crowd Company Lowdown (Vintage League Music)
Crowd Company new album Lowdown was produced by funk legend Alan Evans (Soulive), released on the Vintage League Music label. The record featured Grammy Award nominees Ryan Zoidis and Eric Bloom, the horn section from Lettuce and was featured as a ‘Top Pick for 2020′ by Craig Charles and the first single was a ‘Top Release of 2019’ on Craig’s end of year show. The band has shared stages with and opened for acts such as George Porter Jr. of The Meters, Soulive, The New Mastersounds, Daptone Records’ Saun & Starr, James Taylor Quartet and Monophonics. Crowd Company is truly one of the best on the contemporary funk scene.
07. Vulfpeck The Joy of Music, The Job of Real Estate (Vulf Records)
VulfpeckThe Joy of Music, The Job of Real Estate is a follow-up record to the band’s previous album, 2019’s Live at Madison Square Garden. The funk band has released four EPs, six albums, and a silent album on Spotify titled Sleepify, royalties from which funded Vulfpeck's admission-free tour in 2014. The new album is like the title suggests, a pure joy of music. The band nows how to keep funk music alive.
08. The Haggis Horns Stand Up For Love (Haggis Records)
The Haggis HornsStand Up For Love is pure dirty funk at it's best, deep in-the-pocket drums and bass groove, scratchy funk guitar, a fiery Hammond organ solo, Latin fire congas and a horn section so sharp you could shave with their riffs. They took inspiration from the greatest funk bands like Kool & The Gang, Fred Wesley & The JB’s, The Blackbyrds, The Fatback Band, The Meters and Sly & The Family Stone, and they reached the same level of funk masterpiece.
El Michels Affair Adult Themes began in 2017, when Leon Michels, leader of the El Michels Affair, in between other musical projects began creating compilations of short interludes intended to be sampled by hip hop producers. These minute-long snippets were inspired by the dense moody work of ‘60s composers like David Axelrod, as well as Moondog’s brand of classical jazz. Michels liked so much creating these instrumentals that he decided to expand on some of the ideas and create what would become the soundtrack for a movie that has yet to be made, an imaginary film entitled “Adult Themes.”
10. Khruangbin Mordechai (Dead Oceans / Night Time Stories)
KhruangbinMordechai follows the band’s previous 2018 album, “Con Todo El Mundo”, and the collaborative EP with Leon Bridges, “Texas Sun”, which also came last year. Khruangbin is steeped in the bass-heavy, psychedelic sound of their inspiration, Tarantino soundtracks, and surf-rock cool, the album musically explored many different sounds, from East-Asian surf rock to Persian funk and Jamaican dub.