LETTUCE — Live in Tokyo

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LETTUCE - Live in Tokyo cover
4.16 | 4 ratings | 2 reviews
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Live album · 2004

Filed under Funk Jazz


1. Intro (1:25)
2. Nyack (10:59)
3. Break Out (10:07)
4. The Dump (7:54)
5. Kron Dutch (8:23)
6. Reunion (9:49)
7. Flu the Coop (11:57)
8. 4 on 6 (6:01)
9. Squadlive (7:08)
10. Break Out (reprise) (2:20)

Total Time: 76:07


- Adam Deitch / drums
- Adam Smirnoff / guitar
- Eric Krasno / guitar
- Erik "Baby Jesus" Coomes / bass
- Neal Evans / organ, fender rhodes
- Rashawn Ross / trumpet
- Ryan Zoidis / tenor sax
- Sam Kininger / alto sax

About this release

Kufala Recordings

Rec: Nov.2003,Tokyo Blue Note

Thanks to kazuhiro, snobb for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

People who like their funky jazz with a lot of pyro-technical fusion type skills and high energy virtuoso solos will find much to like in this live album by Lettuce. Although Lettuce is often grouped with other acid jazz and jam bands that came up through the new century, they are much more skilled than their contemporaries and have more in common with classic funky fusion bands like The Brecker Brothers, early Billy Cobham and Tower of Power. After a brief intro number, second cut “Nyack” establishes what this band is capable of. As the different band members spin off rapid fire solos, the rest of the large ensemble engages in a dense interplay of syncopated figures that sounds like a tornado of interlocking rhythms. This band’s ability to have all members firing at once and not step on each other’s toes is remarkable. Just pick any moment in this song and listen to how busy every member is, its hard not to be impressed that this is the top live funk jazz act today.

Lettuce is a large and loose ensemble made up artists who are often active in other bands including John Scofield’s band and Soulive. For “Live in Tokyo” Lettuce has a three horn frontline backed by a rhythm section that includes two interlocking rhythm guitarists. All of the soloists are great, but alto saxophonist Sam Kininger stands out with his energetic punchy riffs that recall funk saxophone greats like Maceo Parker and Benny Maupin. On “The Dump”, he and tenor player Ryan Zoidis trade short solos that build to a feverish pitch. Lettuce’s use of two rhythm guitarists is very effective, on “Squadlive” they lay down infectious hooks that recall the classic sound of James Brown’s early 70s band.

If you like high energy funky fusion albums like Cobham’s “Shabazz” or Herbie’s “Thrust” album, you will probably enjoy this very remarkable live set.

Members reviews

This is where the real Lettuce sound comes from: the live show. This band is impressive in the studio, and I think all their studio albums are essential jazz-funk listening, but there's something else going on here on this live album. The grooves are faster, the solos are nasty, the jazz is cranked up, and you can tell everyone is having a great time. This album just makes me feel so good; the grooves just run through my body. I have to give it to Sam Kininger on this one, he really rips it down on his alto sax. He's really channeling Michael Brecker with that nasty 70s sound.

Ive seen this band live myself, and they really are this good, maybe even better now as this show is from their debut album "Outta Here" tour, as most of the songs here are from that album. Nevertheless, every song here is hot fire, the guitars are particularly fierce, guitarists Adam Smirnoff and band leader Eric Krasno duel it out with some great Pat Martino-styled riffs on top of the tightest grooves this side of the year 2000. Adam Deitch lays down some of the fastest funk drumming I've ever heard, you have to hear the pyrotechnical insanity for yourself.

There is no need to highlight any tracks, as ever song here smokes. Just do yourself a favor, if you have even the slightest interest in funk or jazz-funk, get this album as fast as you can. You'll be so glad you did.

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