April 6, 2009

Candy Dulfer -- Funked Up!

Ah, the Mistress of Funk has returned from the Candy Store all Funked Up! What a birthday treat I can expect on May12, the release date of the monster on the horizon, Candy Dulfer’s Funked Up! album. What can I say? After clearing the smoke from my ears and settling down after a sweatfest of dancing, I was able to assess the dynamics of this one and this explosive artist. Simple question: How does she keep it up??

This titan production kicks it in high gear from track 1, “First in Line,” a primo place to be when going to one of her fiery concerts. It’s followed by a hip-hop-laced funkster called…“My Funk” (imagine that!). Joining the sexy saxtress from Holland on this endeavor is a rapper/vocalist from the Netherlands, Pete Philly who adds that sassy, in-your-face energy so needed to keep pace with Dulfer’s fly-high style. Among others, bassist Chance Howard and drummer Kirk Johnson are right here with her, offering their great talents as key components of this Candy engine.

Every tune here is cut from the colorful, textured cloth that has come to define the sweet and marvelously talented character of the Dutch beauty whose sax has become as much a household item in a smooth jazzer’s life as a hammer. By the way, I have several favs here, and among them would be the opening track, the oh-so-melodic “Don’t Go,” the reggae-flavored “True and Tender,” and the finale, “Roppongi Panic.” There are others, but these are at the top of the heap for me on this one. Such an abundance of structure and soul.

For added effect, there’s a sound bite on ”CD 101” that I just love as she pays tribute to the New York radio station that gave her plenty of airplay around the time of the band’s 1st visit to the States in 1991. The DJ talks about the music not being for the “faint of heart” and how the station would need to take a break while they get some “roofing experts” in to repair the damage that was certain to have been caused by the heat of the Candy sound! Well said.

You know, there is such a marvelous story behind this talented wonder. I’ll just touch on a few key points. Her dad, Hans Dulfer (with whom she collaborated on a joint effort a while back, I seem to recall), was a well-known Dutch saxophonist who founded the Bimhaus, the famous jazz club that was originally subsidized by the Dutch government to promote the arts. Ironically, her dad was ousted from the organization for embracing styles outside the strict confines of traditional jazz. Can you imagine? This, of course, motivated the young Candy, who went on to form her own funk/R&B band, Funky Stuff. Nothing “traditional” about that, I’d say. The rest, as they say, is history.

At any rate, this is quality and trademark Candy. If you’ve loved her in the past, you’ll certainly eat her up here.

Posted by Ronald Jackson at April 6, 2009 4:59 PM