Big Fun(k) Live
is a mosaic of different musical influences and styles led by tenor saxophone all-star Don Braden
and internationally-known percussionist Karl Latham
. Having worked with legends such as Wynton Marsalis, Johnny Winter, Freddie Hubbard, Roy Haynes, Tony Williams and Bill Cosby, both Braden and Latham are masters at creatively and passionately expressing themselves in any genre they choose. In fact, Braden is known primarily in the modern Jazz world, but revisits his roots (he cut his teeth playing in funk and rock bands in the 1970’s) on this outing. With Gary Foote (Blood, Sweat and Tears) assisting Latham in the groove section, Big Fun(k) Live
has a strong musical backbone, perfect for Braden and keyboardist Nick Rolfe (Lizz Wright, Nona Hendryx) to weave their sparkling melodies, intriguing harmonies and dazzling improvisations. This all-star cast of musicians brings a wide variety of influences together and creates a genre-traversing album that will have something for everyone.Big Fun(k) Live
’s first track, “High Rise,” fuses elements mainly of Funk and Contemporary Jazz. It begins with a heavy slap bass that is soon joined by Braden’s soaring saxophone, which fits into the rhythm seamlessly and leads into a powerful extended jam. The track ends with Latham accompanied by the group in an impressive drum solo. “A Foote in the Door," the third track on Big Fun(k) Live, dons a more groove-oriented theme, which contrasts perfectly with the smooth periodic Jazz breakdowns. The soloists reveal remarkable improvisational skill while still maintaining a hard groove throughout. A surprising rendition of the Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," arguably the album’s most appealing track, uses the familiar melody but blends styles that may seem foreign to most Beatles fans. Most notable for its Jazz and Soul/Gospel approach, ”Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” also includes jam sections dominated by Funk elements.
Big Fun(k) is Don Braden (Tenor Saxophone & Alto Flute), Karl Latham (Drums), Nick Rolfe (Keyboards), and Gary Foote (Bass). The album was recorded live at Cecil’s Jazz Club in West Orange, New Jersey with Christopher Coleman and Don Braden as the Live Engineers.