Oct. 9, 2010
Nimble-fingered smooth jazz guitarist Nils is back at us with another release called What The Funk?, containing a cool dozen head-boppin’, soul-reachin’ grooves, loaded with rhythmic punch, harmonic phrasings, and hot riffs–all characteristic of the man who’s brought us such gems as Up Close and Personal, Ready to Play, and Pacific Coast Highway. This latest upholds the man’s commitment to laying down the funk in varying degrees with equal degrees of elegance and grace.
In addition to having penned and arranged most of the CD (as well as doubling on keys on quite a few of the tracks), Nils includes a charming tribute to Hall & Oates as he covers the classic “Sara Smile” in stylish fashion. He also invites session vocalist/keyboardist/songwriter Clydene Jackson (well-known and respected in music industry circles for her pipes) to perform her own “Save Our Love,” a tonally rich and smooth vocal exercise that speaks to the songstress’ mastery of the art form of sanging.
Of his own material, Nils drops more than a handful of goodies in our laps with a variety of grooves ranging from the smooth and funky opener, which moves with a bit of swagger, to the ultra-funky “The Hump” which struts in with even more swagger than the opener. Then, among others, there’s the coolly bluesy “Trip Me,” a mover called “Dance With Me,” the hauntingly telling “Morning Light,” and the very guitar-dominant finale “Detroit Strut.” Ah yes, signature Nils with all the trimmings. What’s not to like? — Ronald Jackson