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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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NILS LANDGREN
FUNK UNIT

Teamwork

Act 9552-2

 

 

1. Get Serious Get A Job
2. My Main Thang
3. You Got It
4. Afriquarius
5. Green Beans
6. Rhythm Is Our Business
7. Living For Love
8. Mr Masumoto
9. Tracksuit
10. Where The Funk Is At
11. Don't Wannit
12. Papa Bull
13. Short Fried Beans

Nils Landgren - Trombone, vocals
Magnum Coltrane Price - Bass, vocals
Jonas Wall, Magnus Lindgren - Woodwinds, vocals
Sebastian Studnitzky - Keyboards, trumpet
Andy Pfeiler - Guitar, vocals
Robert Ikiz - Drums
Joe Sample - Rhodes (track 5)
Till Brönner - Trumpet (track 6)
Wilton Felder - Tenor sax (track 8)

 

I used to think of Nils Landgren as a jazz trombonist but he seems to be wanting to carry us back to the golden age of disco and turn his group into Rose Royce, famous for its hit song and film Car Wash. At times the band is reminiscent of George Clinton's groups, but the effect is the same. Admittedly the band is called a funk unit, but I didn't expect so much funk and so little jazz. The drummer keeps up a relentless offbeat most of the time, while the band and vocalists repeat the same phrases over and over again.

The first track is a typical example, as the singers (who are more like speakers or rappers) continuously tell us to "Get serious, get a job", to which my weary response would be "Why should I?" This tiresome repetition probably results from the way that the album was assembled. Lundgren says "Hours of jamming preceded the recording sessions. We just turned the recorder on and played". So the tracks were not so much composed as assembled. The results may be suitable for dancers but they are less satisfying for listeners.

The only respite from the "jamming" comes from the instrumental solos, which include some jazzy trombone solos from Nils Landgren himself. Crusaders Joe Sample and Wilton Felder add listenable solos to Green Beans and Mr Masumoto respectively, while German trumpeter Till Brönner solos ably on Rhythm Is Our Business. A flute solo from either Magnus Lindgren or Jonas Wall brightens Tracksuit, and there are several funky guitar solos from Andy Pfeiler.

Apart from these brighter moments, this CD is strongly in the running for the accolade of Most Repetitive Album of the Year.

Tony Augarde
www.augardebooks.co.uk



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