That oh so sweet Brooklyn basement funk. It just grabs you by the ass and there is nothing you can do about it, except move it. These deep-soul rhythms, borne out of the late 60s/early 70s era of funk 45s from such labels as Delmar, Pulsar, and Futura, just to name a few, are now the gold for all of your Saturday night selectors. But nowadays, these straight jivin’ hard grooves don’t just come on wax.

With their third release Pure Cane Sugar, internationally known funk essentialists Neal Sugarman and the Sugarman 3 bring their “Hard Hitting Funky Soul Boogaloo Music” to the floor with a little help from some friends and a few of the music’s founding fathers (and one of its mothers, too).

Straight ahead funky stuff, that’s what you get from the Sugarman 3. Comprised of tenor saxophonist and flutist Neal Sugarman, organist Adam Scone, drummer Rudy Albin, and guitarist Al Street, the 3 are all seasoned veterans of the funk world and its jazz counterpart. Before joining forces, Sugarman was a mate of legendary trumpet player Eddie Henderson, Scone worked with Lou Donaldson and Ben Dixon, and Albin was the on-call drummer for the late, great Brother Jack McDuff. Coming together in the spring of 1996, the Sugarman3 came together and reeking of “a nasty vibe and a sweet sexy feeling,” quickly became NYC party staples. Since then the band has been tearing it up all over Europe and the States, as well as releasing two widely acclaimed records: 1998’s Sugar’s Boogaloo and 2000’s Soul Donkey, both on Daptone’s mother label, Desco Records. Now they're coming at you again with that nasty nasty funk flavor in Pure Cane Sugar.

Featuring some legendary voices, Pure Cane Sugar is where it’s at when we’re talking about that deep-soul funk. With Slave’s Charles Bradley belting it out on the soul-driven “Take it as it Come,” Soul Brother Number 2, the Steam Train Lee Fields joining the 3 on the hot breaks of “Shot Down” and the G-dmother Naomi Davis taking you to church on “Promised Land,” this record is a hip-shakin’ history book on the music. Another extra special treat is found in the eloquent drumming of Bernard Purdie on one of the album’s more laid back, good feeling tracks “Modern Jive.” Along with these celebrated orators, the 3 also have the pleasure of accompaniment from fellow Daptone players and members of the label’s soul-exciting house band, The Dap-Kings, tastefully filling in the space where it’s needed. If you want to move it, Pure Cane Sugar has 11 reasons that’ll make you want to jump back and kiss yo-self, Good G-d.

If you are in the Tri-State area, you can check the entire Daptone family including the Sugarman3 featuring Lee Fields, along with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, The Mighty Imperials, and Dirt Rifle and the Funky Bullets featuring Charles Bradley at The Daptone Deluxe Funk & Soul Revue Wednesday, October 30th at the Village Underground (130 W. 3rd Street, NYC).

And for all you deep funk aficionados looking to do some Dap-Dippin’, be sure to check out

Robert Krevolin
JamBase | NYC
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[Published on: 10/28/02]

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