Live from New York is the latest release from Bonerama, a New Orleans rock-funk band with five trombone players! Sounds over the top with the horns? Well, this CD, recorded last November at Tribeca Rock Club in NYC, is packed like a Nawlin's street party, jammed full of rollicking funk and groovy beats. The mighty trombone finally takes its place next to the saxophone and trumpet as a lead instrument!
I can only describe the sound of Bonerama as "boozy" but in a good way. The triple 'bone threat up front consists of Mark Mullins, Craig Klein, and Steve Suter with Brian O'Neill on bass trombone, Bert Cotton on guitar, Matt Perrine on sousaphone, and Chad Gilmore on drums. Formed in 1998 by Mullins and Klein as just a horn section, the band bloomed into what is now Bonerama with the addition of even more trombonists and a fine rhythm section. Stanton Moore of Galactic contributes drums on six of the tracks, and Fred Wesley of the James Brown horns also sits in on a couple of tunes.
The disc opens with the infectious groove of "Baronne" with its danceable disco funk. New Orleans second line drumming is well represented in the next track, "It Don't Mean Nothing," which includes the first appearance of guest drummer Stanton Moore. The next tune "Chilcock" sounds at first like an up-tempo Tower of Power tune but then melts into the slow groove of an acid jazz trip led by the drumming tandem of Moore and Gilmore. The catchy refrain of "Shake your Rugulator" brings it back New Orleans style, with more second line beats and booty shaking goodness.
Bonerama's version of the Allman Brothers' "Whipping Post" is a surprisingly good cover as the 'bones deliver a driving energy on this rock classic. Next up is the first of two Black Sabbath covers, "The Wizard." This one is particularly hard rocking with a ripping guitar solo by Bert Cotton.
The Galactic-like "Less is Moore" follows with an outstanding trombone solo by guest Fred Wesley. Mark Mullins indulges himself on solo electric trombone with "It's Electric" which segues into Jimi Hendrix's "Crosstown Traffic" with Jimi's patented screaming guitar leads being duplicated by the trombones.
"Bone Up" sounds like a dance tune lifted from the Average White Band repertoire, and then the freewheeling "Blackout In NYC" is all 70's street funk with another great solo by Wesley. Showcasing more of their hard rock 'n' roll diversity, Bonerama closes the affair with an inspired cover of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs".
I haven't heard new music this fresh, innovative, and just plain fun in a long time. Live in New York is guaranteed to get everybody moving their feet to that trombone beat!
Susan J. Weiand
JamBase | California
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