Funk With A Side Order Of Jam And Rock

Bruce Von Stiers

Rock Candy Funk Party. What a name for a band. Who are they and what kind of music do they play with a name like that? Well, the who is fairly easy. But the what is a bit more complicated. It seems that the band plays a whole lot of funk jazz with a bit of rock thrown in.

Like it says on the band's web site, Rock Candy Funk Party “isn't your run-of-the-mill funk jam band.” They have Joe Bonamassa on guitar. Mike Merritt is on both upright and electric bass. Renato Neto plays the clavinet and tickles the keys on piano, Rhodes and synthesizers. The two founding members of the band are Tal Bergman and Ron Dejesus. Tal plays the drums and percussion as well as does the programming and additional keys. Ron is on guitar. Each of these musicians have had extensive solo and sideman careers. Collectively they have performed and recorded with some of the best, including Billy idol, Prince, Simple Minds, Bruce Springsteen, Chaka Khan, Sheila E. and many more.

The band released their debut album, We Want Groove, in 2013. That was followed by Takes New York Live At The Iridium in 2014 and Groove Is King in 2015. This past year saw the band release their fourth album. The title fits with its place in the album linage. It is called The Groove Cubed. It was released by J & R Adventures.

Ty Taylor did the vocals and vocal arrangements on one song on the album. He has been a member of the soul / rock band Vintage Trouble and the R & B group Dakota Moon. And Ty was also a contestant on the reality show Rock Star: INXS. Tawny Dolley provided backing vocals on one song. Tawny currently stars in Vegas! The Show at the Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas and portrays Etta James in the national touring company of the production, A Night With Janis Joplin. Australian native Mahalia Barnes does the vocals and vocal arrangements on one song. She is known for The Tin Lids, a band she had with her siblings. Mahalia is also a very sought after session vocalist.

The album has fourteen songs and a play time of just under an hour. It was produced by Tal Bergman.

As this is no ordinary jam and funk band, you would expect the music to be unique and somewhat unusual. That certainly can be said about the first song on the album. The title of the song is Gothic Orleans. It begins with an almost haunting cinematic tone and then brings some dark sounding guitar and drums into the mix. Then things crescendo into a tough rock anthem sound.

Without nary a break between songs, the next bit is called Drunk On Bourbon On Bourbon Street. It is a funk bit of jam, rock anthem and guitar laden soft blues.

Now if the start of the third song on the album doesn't get your head bopping, then nothing will. In The Groove has a too cool guitar based groove. It slows down for a few licks in the middle just to go fully back into a groove styling.

Kicking in again in the groove is the song Don't Even Try It. This is the song that Ty Taylor did the vocals on. It is a great jam flavored tune with slick vocals. She's trying to convince herself of not being into him, but he's saying “don't even try it, I ain't buying it.” Tawny Dolley does a great job with the backing vocals on the song.

Things get a little out there with Two Guys And Stanley Kubrick Walk Into A Jazz Club. It has some futuristic space rock sounds along with some almost haunted house walking down a hallway cinematic moments. That's followed by a rock anthem styling I thought sounded like something out of the late 70's. And then there is a bit of jazz thrown in. It is a very interesting piece to say the least.

Then there is Isle Of The Wright Brothers. It is a short song with someone speaking/ singing sounding like a church revival tent preacher.

Mr. Space is a solid, moderately paced groove piece.

The band takes on a classic James Brown tune, I Got The Feelin'. This has a bit more of a groove tone than the original. It also has more than fine vocals by Mahalia Barnes.

After Hours has a sultry, late night jazz feel.

It begins with some pop sounding jazz. Then it transcends into a cool rock anthem mode. From there the sound kind of goes back to jazz. The title of this interesting song is This Tune Should Run For President.

Killer drum is all of what Mr. Funkamus Returns And He Is Mad is all about.

The title, Funk-O-Potamia, will make you think that this is a funk tune. But really, it is a tough rock anthem, with a sliver of funk thrown in.

Another rock anthem sounding song is The Token Ballad. Really strong guitar and keys make this a rather cool song.

The album concludes with a different song titled Ping Pong. It has some strong bass and an interesting guitar and keys melding.

Rock Candy Funk Party has created something very cool and interesting in their music. They have tough rock blended into funk and bits and pieces of jazz thrown into the mix. The Groove Cubed is an exceptional album. Not only is the music excellent, the vocals on the album are superb.

The Groove Cubed is available now. Check with your favorite music outlet for it.

Rock Candy Funk Party has an official web site at

There is also a Facebook band page at

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© 2018 Bruce E Von Stiers