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George Anderson – Body and Soul

May 22, 2017

Jazz funk bassist George Anderson, renowned for his work with the U.K. acid jazz band Shakatak, has been embarked on his own solo career for a few years now, releasing his fourth solo effort here (three studio recordings and one live set) called Body and Soul. His is the classic case of U.S.-under-appreciated, unheralded rock-solid talent. Not having seen a U.S. concert calendar available for him, I must say that talent this big needs much more exposure here in the States. I’m hoping promoters, sponsors, and fans alike will help to make that happen and soon. After all, along with being a member of the world renowned Shakatak, you only need to listen to know that his brand of funk is distinct and presented with an abundance of power and heft.

This latest R&B/jazz funk effort is classic George Anderson as he launches into a collection of all-new originals (save one live cover – Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Can’t Hide Love,” offered as a bonus track here on this generous 15-track album).

There’s much feel-good music — and one very reflective track — here, including the explosive down & dirty funky lead music track (following the spoken intro) “G_Funk,” the soulful “Joys of Life” and “Don’t Waste My Time,” the funk-driven instrumental “Miller Time” (hmm, how the questions swirl in my head about the motivation for this title!), the gentle and beautiful “Beautiful,” the lively Latin-laced “Festival De La Vida,” the snappy and sassy “All Or Nothing,” another beauty with a gentle gospel feel called “Promised Land,” the very sober and telling “It’s Our World,” and, of course, a great cover of the always enchanting EWF classic “Can’t Hide Love.”

I would be totally remiss if I didn’t acknowledge some integral parts of this recording that had to significantly help Anderson get this baby skyward bound: The remarkable vocals of Debby Bracknell, Mary Pearce, Geo Gabriel, and AJ Stunner BV; the solid horn work of saxmen Mat Sibley, Aaron Liddard, Zeke Le Grange, Richard Beesley, and trumpeter Sid Gauld; guitarists Nathan Carolus, Dave Ital, and Al Wormald; drummer John Fisher; keyboardists/pianists Ruffy Bushman and Dimitris Dimopoulos; and percussionist Virtualo Exacto.

Anderson belongs to that class of bassists that actually knows how to fold in the jazz element with any R&B/funk arrangement, and you can definitely hear it. I find that highly commendable and refreshing. After all, that’s what this thing called jazz funk is supposed to be all about, right?

Grab a good long moment with this one. It’s got that “It” factor, for sure. – Ronald Jackson