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  • Jonathan Widran

FUNK SHUI NYC, Shark NATO on a Plane

It’s kind of curious as to why Dave Morgan and Rob Susman, veteran sidemen and masterminds behind the slammin’, jammin’ high octane 15 piece ensemble Funk Shui NYC, wait till the last track to state their overall whirlwind of a mission, but there it is – even wilder than its legendary composer Allen Toussaint, could have imagined: “Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky.”

Arranged by and featuring Susman’s scorching, percussive trombone energy, it’s the perfect, hypnotic and feisty representation of the group’s overall freewheeling vibe. Perfectly capturing the multiple cultures, street honking chaos yet soulful and cool melodic flow of New York City and its multi-faceted jazz scene, Shark NATO on an Airplane is, as its title leads us, biting and aggressive yet soaring and inspiring us to think bigger and bolder.

Though anchored powerfully in five off the charts crazy fun originals (you’ll start bouncing and grooving with the title track and playful for all seasons “July Groove/September Funk”), the band is full of wild surprises in re-fashioning a wacky hodgepodge of outside material to fit their relentlessly grooving, R&B and often Latin fired aesthetic.

Their set list ranges from a crackling, boisterous Santana styled mash of “Summertime” (revamped like they want the Gershwins to dance in their graves) to a sultry, seductive roll through George Harrison’s “Blue Jay Way” and a vibey, drum, bass and bari sax driven romp through the ultimate NYC TV theme, “Barney Miller” (retitled “What Barney?” for full whimsical effect. This one’s a big WOW of a recording that will leave you breathless and wanting to dance in the streets of Manhattan amidst the honking cars.

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