Music Reviews

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Kings / The Apples

The Apples - Kings

Freestyle Records

The latest release by The nine piece ensemble known as The Apples is a testament on how the spirit of the funk fuses two worlds into one musical stew. The two main ingredients of this stew is Fred Wesley, he of the infamous JB’s and legendary funk pioneer trombonist who opens the first half of the disc.  The second half features vocalist/percussionist Shlomo Bar, the Godfather of Israeli world music. Wesley provides the intro on the track “Howlin’ With Fred” with a funky riff that leads into a fierce groove laid down by the rhythm section. The title track provides more energetic funk improvisation by Wesley and the band and is augmented by DJ Todres turntable wizardry.  Shlomo takes center stage on “Batash (Alwoojdi)”, a rhythmic Middle Eastern flavored tune highlighted by his vocal phrasing and percussion work on the darbuka. Shlomo also performs on “Banana Jam”, a musical gumbo filled with Afrobeat rhythms, wicked grooves and spirited horn arrangements. The band produced and arranged all tracks and each one stands on its own. It also helps that they kept the tracklist amount to eight tunes. At no time are you worn down by the amount of tunes or the lack of quality. That said “Kings” is an example of what happens when musical cultures collide and you surround it with talented musicians. The result is an engaging recording that is worthy of repeated listens

Reg Dancy, 01/11