LETTUCE — Outta Here (review)

LETTUCE — Outta Here album cover Album · 2002 · Funk Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Lettuce is one of the best modern funk bands today. This band is unlike most funk-jazz bands in the 21st century, in that, they are not necessarily just a tribute band to the 60s and 70s greats like James Brown (though who isn't influenced by Mr. Dynamite himself), P-Funk, Sly, etc. but are a band that really takes the genre of funk and push it forward with a little hip-hop influences in the beats, tight rhythm and crisp production, but with enough of a bite. Add to that one of the best horn sections around, and the excellent guitar work from Soulive guitarist Eric Krasno. His style is somewhere between Pat Martino and John Scofield, so you know it gets jazzy in here, but he also has his own sound that is easily discernible among the thousands of funk and jazz guitarists out there.

Now to the band's debut album "Outta Here". The band has actually been around since 1992, but it took 10 years for this album to arise out of the woodwork. But it's not like these guys weren't busy (Krasno had already established Soulive with fellow Lettuce member Neal Evans and his brother Alan), and Adam Deitch had been playing with the John Scofield Band for some time by the time this album came).

Things get off to a wonderful start with the opening title track, and the energy level never lets up. Every song is hot fire, even the token vocal track on Twisted. The music will make you move your head and body. this band just grooves no few bands do. You'd think after a few songs there would need to be a breather song somewhere, but Lettuce just pommel you with some of the tightest funk. It's almost aggressive and it never lets up, but that's fine. There is enough diversity in the sound for it not to get monotonous, going from straight funk, to jazz-fusion, to jazz-funk, to hip-hop inspired funk, there's a lot of great sounds here.

I mentioned John Scofield earlier, and he is here as a guest on a couple of tracks, particularly on The Flu, this track is more of a "darker" funk tune, more in line with jazz-fusion. This is a great track, and essential for Scofield fanatics. Excellent bass lines.

The band do a nice rendition of James Brown's "Superbad", titled "Superfred" here, with guest Fred Wesley providing some great trombone work. There is also a cover of Herbie Hancock's "Hang Up Your Hangups", and again, the band nail it, with some riveting solos that just make you want to get up and move.

Highly recommended for any jazz-funk fan, or funk fans in general. In fact, all their albums at the time of writing this (2012) are essential funk albums, as well as their live album Live In Tokyo. Get this and you will not be disappointed. One of the best debut albums from any band.
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