ROMANTIC FUNK DEBUT ALUBUM OUT now
Perhaps the most accomplished UK-born improviser of his generation, bassist Orlando le Fleming returns with his new album Romantic Funk, the long awaited follow-up to 2010's From Brooklyn With Love.
The spirit of Romantic Funk falls somewhere between the serene, legato passages of early-Jaco-era Weather Report, and the spaced out electronica of late-70's Herbie Hancock; a unity distorted beautifully by Le Fleming's jedi-level command of complex rhythmic systems. Best known as a double bassist with jazz luminaries like Branford Marsalis, Joey Calderazzo, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Jeff "Tain" Watts and Lage Lund, Le Fleming takes a left with his new release, electing to showcase his abilities on the electric bass this time against a backdrop of his own kaleidoscopic compositions.
About the music, Le Fleming says: “The ‘romantic’ is personified by lush, classical harmony echoed by the nostalgic synth sounds of Pete Rende and Frank LoCrasto. The strong grooves and guitar lines are heavily influenced by Funk, although the complexities in rhythm stem from more contemporary forms of jazz.”
The pithy irreverence of the album's tracklist reflects Le Fleming's wry wit and penchant for injecting irony into musical conversation. "Pretentious Brooklyn’s” combination of popular and esoteric elements finds its composer utilizing much the same crossover approach as Miles Davis did on Live - Evil, recalling Dave Holland as readily as David Axelrod. "Focustrate" is a whirling, polyrhythmic take on the Headhunters sound, a quieter contemporary analog to the gyrating hemiolas of Wayne Krantz's modern classic Two Drink Minimum. The sublime "Myth" finds a strong asset in guest drummer Lenny Reece (otherwise known for his work with DJ Premier and Gentei Kaijo), who helps Le Fleming & co. find common ground between the Dilla-inflected Robert Glasper aesthetic of this generation, and the electric jazz canon of decades prior.
Reece is not the only guest on the album. The core lineup of Le Fleming, drummer Ari Hoenig, guitarist Greg Tuohey and keyboardist Frank LoCrasto is augmented intermittently by saxophonists Seamus Blake and Will Vinson, keyboardists Sullivan Fortner and Pete Rende, and guitarist Ryan Scott. Le Fleming's veteran leadership finds a place for everyone, and everyone in their place.
Turn off your TV and turn up the bass - Romantic Funk is out May 12th.