R FOR ROMEO — Plan R

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R FOR ROMEO - Plan R cover
3.00 | 1 rating | 1 review
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Album · 2023

Filed under Funk Jazz
By R FOR ROMEO

Tracklist

1. Checkmate 05:00
2. Go Play in the Street 05:40
3. Lockdown 05:59
4. Midtown 05:08
5. Blue 04:36
6. Blabbermouth 04:09
7. You Can't Be Serious 04:01
8. Barney's Groove 04:15

Line-up/Musicians

guitars Stuart Ziff
keyboards Daniel Stein
percussion Marcos Reyes
drums Fred Dinkins, Kevin Stevens, Rick Latham
bass Rene Camacho, Travis Carlton
trumpet Chris Tedesco

About this release

Moondo Records (US)

Thanks to snobb for the addition and js for the updates

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js
“Plan R” is the debut album from funk jazz duo, R For Romeo, which consists of longtime LA session musicians Daniel Stein on keyboards and Stuart Ziff on guitars. Some may recognize the band and album name as coming from the movie “Dr Strangelove’, which is a favorite film for both of the musicians. Filling out the rest of the band are several guest musicians, including trumpeter, Chris Tedesco, who brings some brass fire to a couple tracks. Romeo’s music falls roughly into the funk jazz category, with some sidelines into slow jam ballads, quasi reggae and trip-hop. Both Stein and Ziff have a background in library music, and it shows in the appealing economy and brevity to some of the selections, neither musician is given to long winded solos. There are some great tracks on here, but the whole album could have benefited from a better consideration for the order that the songs appear in. My advice to the new listener, don’t start at the beginning with this one, instead skip around a bit and you will find some excellent wah-wah guitar and Hammond organ driven soulful numbers.

There are four really good high energy funk tracks on here, with three coming at the end of the album. “Lockdown” channels Stevie Ray, while ‘Blabbermouth” conjures up early Funkadelic and “You Can’t be Serious” has a Jeff Beck vibe to it. Album closer, “Barney’s Groove” is based on the opening theme to the show, “Barney Miller”, and its about time someone recorded a jam featuring that famous bass line that almost everyone wanted to play back in the late 70s, even people who could barely play the bass at all. Back then, you could hand almost anyone a bass guitar, and next thing you know, here comes that well-known syncopated climb up the neck of the instrument.

There are two well written guitar ballads, with “Blue”, again channeling that Jeff Beck sound. Other than that you also get a ‘Steely Dan playing reggae’ sort of thing and a trip-hop number built off of a drum loop. Lots of nice material on here, but the track order remains a mystery. Why were the two ballads placed back to back, and why didn’t the album open with the stronger tracks. Finally, on an album featuring live drummers, why was the only drum loop track given a prominent position as the second song. It’s a good jam that develops nicely, but that drum loop sounds a bit odd coming early in the album. “Plan R” is a good album for funk jazz and fusion fans, but it could have benefited from a better presentation.

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