Karl Denson Trio: Lunar Orbit

By: Steve Itzkowitz

Now I'm going to go out on a limb here and say without listening to the first note of the latest Karl Denson project, the Karl Denson Trio (KD3), and say that it's going to be funky. The question of what kind of funk is the real reason to listen to this smooth groove and slightly spaced out funk machine. Here's the deal: Karl Denson delivers another knockout, plain and simple.

Right from the get go, the KD3 deliver the goods with the title cut, which hints at, believe it or not, the Steve Miller Band on the intro. Then, the beats bring in a Galactic feel, and the flute jam evokes memories of Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson. Ron Burgundy would be jealous of how this jam keeps it up for nearly nine-and-a-half minutes.

The songs form groove patterns in their flow. Case in point, "Break Me Down," which follows "Lunar Orbit," is a drum-led tune that spotlights percussionist Brett Sanders, the younger brother of Tiny Universe drummer John Staten. The first of three versions of "Ghetto Fireworks" comes next. This first incarnation further teases jams that "Lunar Orbit" put in motion, but also brings up new lines of jazz and funk improvisation that inspired memories of Harold Faltermeyer's "Axel F." theme from Beverly Hills Cop.

Denson's saxophone prowess is showcased during the "Plain Truth" which takes off right from the start to set even the pickiest jazz fan's foot tapping. The trip continues with the silky smooth "Won't Somebody," which conjures up the classic style of George Benson and other '70s smooth jazz cats. What's different here is a fuller dose of funk coming from Denson's soul.

During "Dingo Dog Sled," the KD3 hint at Herbie Hancock's "Rockit" and fire off the deepest groove of the album. The interplay between Denson and keyboardist Anthony Smith (Global Funk, Giant People) is evident as the pace of the jam picks up and never relents. Another exploratory visit to "Ghetto Fireworks (Pt. 2)" adds cohesiveness and brings back the flute back as the jam centerpiece. The trek goes on with the 9-minute "By Appointment Only" as the KD3 continues on their personal orbit.

From top to bottom, Lunar Orbit (Bobby Ace) scores with jazzy, spacey, funky, groovy, silky smooth sounds that make for an enjoyable journey each and every seamless ride. Who'd have thought that a flute could be so funky?

JamBase | Mothership
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[Published on: 11/15/07]

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Window Thu 11/15/2007 06:43PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Checking it out December 1 in Chico with Dave Elke Trio opening.

danpfunk starstar Fri 11/16/2007 08:11AM
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I prefer reviews that use more description and less comparison. After reading this I know less about the album, but I have about 15 old 70's tunes in my head.

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Fri 11/16/2007 09:36AM
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‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

saw them this summer for the first time.

the guy on the hammond b3 makes it totally worth while!!!

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Mon 11/19/2007 09:33AM
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‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

I cannot find contact info to ask that this new release be sent to our radio station!!!!!!! why???????????????? the record label has no info, not even thru google!! why????????????????

ALL FUNKY Sat 3/7/2009 10:20PM
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Hy Steve,

Just wanted to point out a correcton on your review Brett Sanders did not play percussion on this cd . He is the older brother of John Staten who currently plays live with Karl's Tiny Universe.

It was Steve Haney who also played percussion on Karl Denson's D Stands For Diesel. Jake Najor and Aaron Redfield are on drums on the session recording,and Aaron is the current Greyboy Allstar drummer.