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THIS JUST IN:
Clinton Administration - "Take You Higher". Coming this Spring from Magnatude Records
The music of Sly And The Family Stone
Package design by Dave McKean
DJ Logic - turntables & sound manipulation (Medeski Martin & Wood, Yohimbe Brothers)
Skerik - sax (Critters Buggin', Les Claypool's Frog Brigade, Karl Denson)
Robert Walter - keyboards (20th Congress, Greyboy Allstars)
Melvin Gibbs - bass (John Zorn, Defunkt, Arto Lindsay, Rollins Band)
Clyde Stubblefield - drums (James Brown, Garbage)
Phil Upchurch - guitar (George Benson, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Curtis Mayfield )
Chuck Prada - percussion (20th Congress)
Art Direction by Dave McKean (DC Comics 'Sandman')
What do you get when you assemble a bunch of top-flight jazz musicians and session cats in a studio together, who just happen to have an unhealthy obsession with Parliament/Funkadelic? In the case of One Nation Under A Re-Groove, a storming world-class reevaluation of the grandmaster of funk, courtesy of the cleverly named new-groove collective The Clinton Administration.
Signed to new Magna Carta imprint Magnatude, The Clinton Administration brings the concept of a funk collective bang up-to-date in the capable hands of some of the most talented funk, jazz and hip-hop musicians of the last four decades including legendary Chess Records guitarist Phil Upchurch and the oft-sampled funk drummer Clyde Stubblefield.
The groups all-instrumental take on the music of George Clinton turns the groove up an extra notch, with reworked Parliament classics such as "Mothership Connection," "Up For The Downstroke," and the rousing "Give Up The Funk," and some of Funkadelics finest including "(Not Just) Knee Deep" and, of course, the signature funk classic "One Nation Under A Groove."
Initially the unnamed group came together hoping to capture their shared Clinton-adulation on tape but soon enough the penny began to drop that there was some real magic happening in that basement studio. The songs came out fast and furious and, in the words of drummer Clyde Stubblefield, whose influential grooves can be heard on James Browns biggest hits of the 60s, "it locked right in instantly."
"We knew each other the moment we sat down to play, and we went right to work. We just knew what we were supposed to do," says Stubblefield, of the projects impressive momentum.
The trio of jazz-funk keyboard player (and member of the west-coast acid-jazz group Greyboy Allstars) Robert Walter, experimental turntablist DJ Logic, and blues guitar legend Phil Upchurch create an eclectic stylistic melange where old school, blues, funk, hip-hop and new groove meet.
Guitarist Phil Upchurch was given the unusual credit of "decomposing and disarranging." His killer riffs, honed over a 45-year career thats included stints with Donny Hathaway, the Crusaders, George Benson, Quincy Jones, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Smith, Ben Sidran, Stan Getz, BB King, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, John Lee Hooker and Ray Charles, not to mention his own illustrious solo career, quite simply speak for themselves. When trading solos with Robert Walter in full Worrellesque Hammond-organ mode, the result is electrifying.
"Everyone was bouncing ideas off each other," recalls Upchurch of the sessions. "It was a great collective project. For my part, I was busy bebopping during the 60s and 70s so I was less familiar than the other guys with the original Parliament/Funkadelic versions. But it meant I could give it a new spin."
Turntable maestro DJ Logic also gave the music a new spin quite literally with his unparalleled turntable skills and unique appreciation for the inter-relationships between jazz, funk, blues and hip-hop. A huge fan of P-Funk, Logics record collection boasts all the classics from that era. Hes even collaborated with the great P-Funk keyboardist Bernie Worrell himself. "I grew up listening to all that music," says Logic. "I worked with Bernie Worrell and Ive met George Clinton. Its really special to be covering their music."
Logic is well-known for his ability to treat jazz and hip-hop like they were two sides of the same coin, so his contemporary scratching technique fit right in there with the old-school blues and funk of his Clinton Administration bandmates.
"All the guys there made me feel comfortable," says Logic. "Some of them Id already worked with in the past, for some of them this was for the first time. I was doing a lot of different sounds and textures to come up with the best sounds to manipulate to what they were adding. They seemed to really dig it."
Bass player Melvin Gibbs, an alumnus of the Power Tools trio and the Rollins Band; talented world/hip-hop percussionist Chuck Prada, whose recording and playing credits include Black Eyes Peas, Dr Dre, Greyboy Allstars, Charlie Hunter and Robert Walters 20th Congress; and experimental jazz-rock saxophonist Skerik a member of Les Claypools Frog Brigade, Critters Buggin, and Pongo complete the Clinton Administration lineup.
Says Gibbs of the recording process: "It was cool, you know? It was kind of like old school. I laid down my parts in just two days." Made easier, he enthuses, by working alongside "pretty much the P-Funk drummer of all time" Clyde Stubblefield.
Mutual respect and open-mindedness is key to The Clinton Administration policy. With the pure energy and passion its outstanding musicians bring to the project, youd be forgiven for thinking this tight-as-a-wire collective has been laying down the funk together for years. Yet this is only the beginning