Lettuce: Rage!

By: Trevor Pour

Movement is an intrinsic component of the musical experience, an inseparable element from all but the most discordant compositions. But occasionally, a band hijacks that mysterious foot-tapping cortical connection and bolsters it beyond belief. The funk jazz gurus of Lettuce do just that. By building an eight-lane autobahn between your ears and your toes, Lettuce's Rage! (out April 22 on Velour) has you nodding and shuffling within just a few seconds of their first beat. I honestly can't listen to this album in public. I put on my headphones and start bobbing around like a fool.

Lettuce was formed 16 years ago in 1992, but its seven members have made significant musical waves through a host of other outlets. For instance, Eric Krasno (guitar) and Neal Evans (keys) founded the funk powerhouse Soulive, while Ryan Zoidis (sax) toured with the Rustic Overtones and Sam Kininger (sax) has fronted his own jazz band. Drummer Adam Deitch has collaborated with John Scofield, Adam "Shmeeans" Smirnoff (guitar) played with Robert Randolph and the Family Band and Erick "E.D." Coomes (bass) provided the low end for artists as diverse as Britney Spears and The Game. Rage! is Lettuce's third release, but their first studio effort in seven years and the very first album that was preceded by a serious rehearsal. "We wanted the record to sound like the old stuff we were paying tribute to," says Coomes. "So, we recorded with an old board, old mikes, old tube compressors."

And pay tribute they do, as Rage! tips their collective hat to all of funk music history. "Blast Off" is a fitting title for the opening track as the septet wastes no time cutting a deep groove and setting a marvelous atmosphere. "Blast Off" is a fast, full, straight-driving, horn-dominated piece, and is followed by the equally groovy "Sam Huff's Flying Rage Machine." Lettuce slows things down a bit for a solid cover of Curtis Mayfield's "Move On Up," which features R&B vocalist Dwele. Of the remainder of the album, the four closing tracks are exceptionally catchy and high energy, especially "Mr. Yancey," a hard-hitting nod to J Dilla. This last cut would fit equally well at a funky jazz bar or a packed nightclub. It reminds the listener that three members of Lettuce (Krasno, Coomes and Deitch) have spent considerable time working on the music behind the biggest money-making artists in the country: 50 Cent, Talib Kweli and Redman, to name just a few.

Long story short, Rage! is just plain fun. It could use a few extra minutes of music (total running time of 53 minutes), but overall it was easy to enjoy this album.

JamBase | Funkytown
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[Published on: 4/20/08]

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nickname starstarstarstar Sun 4/20/2008 09:09AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I've heard that Lettuce is awesome... I am going to New Orleans for JazzFest and was considering checking out their late night show.... Does anyone know how their live performances are?

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Sun 4/20/2008 11:28AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

I HIGHLY suggest everyone buy this that digs FUNK.

gmoo Sun 4/20/2008 12:48PM
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This sounds sweet. Last time I checked 53 minutes isn't too bad for an album. Look what Radiohead gets away with...

keithrichardsforpres Mon 4/21/2008 08:32AM
Show -6 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
Leistr Mon 4/21/2008 12:16PM
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So Keef your saying that because everyone these days is told that they dont know how to pay attention for long periods of time nobody should try? Or that artist should pander to that b.s.? no offense, but maybe you should stick to the world of 3 min pop songs.

Lakai starstarstar Mon 4/21/2008 12:54PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


RAGE!!!!!!, anyone else find it slightly funny that they chose to name their album this?

snappy Mon 4/21/2008 07:05PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


If you read the cover fast including the band's name it sounds like "Let us rage." I doubt this is an accident. He he.

CurlyESP84 Tue 4/22/2008 09:04AM
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I just bought tix to the late-night JazzFest Lettuce show at Tip's French Quarter. I expect my head to explode with funk. Till the break-o-break-o-dawn, mofos!

Adam4man Tue 4/22/2008 09:05AM
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lettuce outta here

lettuce rage

i cannot wait to purchase this album.

Dcknyc starstarstarstarstar Tue 4/22/2008 10:19AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


just threw my copy on and it's burning through my speakers.

get this album. these guys are unstoppably funky.

lettuce for life.

n-1 starstarstarstar Tue 4/22/2008 05:21PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

too bad these guys don't tour more, where are all the new reviews?

Conjugal Burning Wed 4/23/2008 07:36AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Conjugal Burning

That is some all-star headie funk for sure. But Keithrichards, you need to give The Mars Volta a chance. Every album is damn near 70 minutes and each second plays an intricate part to the journey. Maybe you're the one with a.d.d., hence your love for the boring ass simplistic stones

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Wed 4/23/2008 09:33AM
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‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

I listened to the whole thing.. its really off the HOOK!!!! sickness!!!!

PooDolla Wed 4/23/2008 09:59AM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


These guys tour now and again. I saw them open for Greyboy Allstars in Santa Cruz about two months ago.

spun'dun'git'r Fri 4/25/2008 08:40PM
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this, along with outta here and live in tokyo, are top-notch funk albums. i saw them on feb. 29th this year at sullivan hall in nyc and they're amazing live. BUY this album and see them at all good!

BellT24 Wed 4/30/2008 10:22AM
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Anyone new to lettuce will enjoy them. At a live show, you'll be raging right along with them!! THE BEST LIVE MUSIC I'VE EVER HEARD!!!!!!!!!!!

silent9bass starstarstarstarstar Wed 4/30/2008 11:13AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


This album starts off funky and doesn't allow you to stop dancing until it finishes. I think Trevor meant that 53 minutes wasn't too short, he just didn't think throwing a b-side or 2 on there would have cluttered the album; cause you know anything lettuce touches turns to FUNK!

danpfunk Thu 5/8/2008 07:18AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Saw their show at Tip's in the French Quarter last weekend, and yes indeed it was pure funk, much more so than typical Soulive. Loved it!