Detroit Rising ‘A Cosmic Jazz Funk Adventure’ (Down Jazz) 3/5

Detroit collective (with other cities, notably L.A. mixed in) Detroit Rising are an ensemble of original studio members of the P-Funk school including both Funkadelic and Parliament. Their no-nonsense approach to music has extended to individual work with the likes of Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige, and on the jazzier side of the tracks, Herbie Hancock and Theo Parrish. Stylistically, the group embraces old-skool funk from the 1970’s (Slave) as well as the kind that Prince in the 1990’s might have conjured up and the group needs to be slightly wary of not being perceived solely as a Prince tribute band; they are good enough musicians to stand on their own. Vocals are shared between Steve Boyd and various guest singers, and the temperature is hot from the outset. The Prince-esque ‘Lashing Out’ opens up the album on a mini-jam session complete with wailing saxophone, whereas it is Steve Arrington and Slave that are most obviously evoked on the nine and a half minute uptempo groove of ‘Little Bit’. Where this kind of re-enactment of funk history falls down is in reinforcing the point too many times and, with four tracks alone weighing in at over nine minutes, this is an album in need of a severe trim. Some variation is available on the Prince-like vocals to ‘My Heart Is Frozen’, which is more melodic, but it is a pity that their jazz credentials were not more on display on some moody, laid back pieces, and these are sadly conspicuous by their absence. Distributed by the Light in the Attic indie label, this releases is strictly for funk enthusiasts who like their extended jam session with large doses of bass line and crashing drums.

Tim Stenhouse