This is a puzzle of the non Rubik cube variety and not what it seems at all. Turning to the album title first of all, “romantic funk”? Well, let’s clear that up: this is not funk like James Brown although the hints are there, the funk will out in an earthier fashion once you get beyond the first track into ‘And That Sort of Thing’, taking a tiny while to delve behind the beat and really groove but not that long. It is hardly cheesily romantic either in a ballads and Broadway vein although the album successfully crowdfunded via Pledge Music possesses plenty of its own slinky atmosphere, expat Englishman in New York bassist Orlando Le Fleming following in Dave Holland’s distant footsteps.
So having dealt with what it isn’t, let’s deal with what it is. Switching to bass guitar and delving into Jaco Pastorius-like fusion, Le Fleming had surfaced playing stand up bass with the likes of Jason Rebello before he left for the States where he picked up gigs with Jane Monheit here leads a high powered studio gathering of crack players for this fine effort, the band exploring a loose mix with the emphasis firmly on shifting from a duple to a triple metrical feel the rhythmic rocket science delivered without any sterility and injected with a lot of joy. Listen for some terrific electric guitar breaks from Kiwi ace Greg Tuohey, sizzling drumming from Ari Hoenig, and Seamus Blake proves ever reliable on gutsy tenor and also shines. Le Fleming is a formidable player who can do velvety touch or thump out an earthy beat seemingly at will and shows many good ideas that he develops and runs with. Fun and not at all slick as you can tell by watching and listening to a slice of the action, above.