Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Renew your funk and soul with Amendola Vs Blades : "Everybody Wins"

Amendola Vs Blades Everybody Wins Royal Potato Family Records

If you want to groove to some creative organ and drums-driven vibes that will keep your body twitching and your face smiling, then Amendola Vs Blades Everybody Wins more than fits the bill. The drummer Scott Amendola and the keyboard artist Will Blades have been Bay area-based friends for years, since their first collaboration back in 2006. The two have been successfully producing music that fuses elements of jazz, funk, Latin, rock, soul and blues into a gumbo of pure fun.

The music is usually launched by Amendola’s driven trap work creating an infectious rhythmic direction that Blades further defines by laying down a foot-driven bass line on his B3 organ. The groove is almost trance-like, the armature upon which Blades builds and extends the music. Blades probes against the rhythm, using his organ and clavinet as a musical explorer, extending the repetition of the music, pumping and surging like a heartbeat exploding free of its confines. Amendola’s maintains the pace and allows his drums to erupt with timed bursts in response to Blades directions. Creating tension and excitement while always maintaining the lifeline that emanates from the groove is their modus operadi.

Will Blades and Scott Amendola ( photo credit unknown)
The songs include eight humorously titled jams, like funk driven “Hi-Lo,” the Afro-Cuban/electronica inspired “Cyrolette,” the New Orleans inspired ‘Fess Up’ (Before Ya Mess Up),” the experimental“Metropolian Hustle,” “ Wall Town,” “Hambella,” the title song “Everybody Wins,” and the closer “Fabulous Stupendous.”

On this album Blades and Amendola invited some guest artists that bring their own musical language into the mix. Jeff Parker’s (Tortoise) distinctive guitar work is heard to great effect on “Cyroette,” as is the tune’s namesake Cyro Baptista (Herbie Hancock) and his buoyant percussion.

The organ driven “’Fess Up” is a gritty, New Orlean’s inspired march that is a tribute to pianist Professor Longhair and features some of Amendola’s most rambunctious trap work.

Will Blades and Scott Amendola (photo credit unknown)
“Metropolian Hustle,” an psychedelic inspired electronic feast of sounds from outside of your brain, features an eerie, efx-driven saxophone by Skerik        (Garage A Trois). Blades adds synthesizer accents to the scene and the whole flight is other-worldly.

One of my favorite songs on the album is “Wall Town” which sounds a bit like a futuristic Latin jazz-inspired jam. Skerik’s saxophone, Blades’s on organ and a clavinet sounding like a vibraphone, Amedola’s roiling drums and a remarkably inspired guitar solo by Parker, that just takes you to strange but rewarding places, makes this a magically mesmerizing ride.

“Hambela” is a boogaloo that goes from a defined groove that morphs into a fractured Parker solo. The song suddenly changes time and has Amendola whirling in all directions creating a tumultuous windstorm of percussive paroxysm.

The title song “Everybody Wins” is a classic soulful organ blues and has some of Blades best keyboard work to my ears. These two remind me  a little of the old organ/drums duo of Lee Michaels and Frosty back in the late sixties. They can play with an unadorned simplicity, beauty and a deep respect for the tradition and that makes it just incredibly enjoyable.

The finale is Amendola’s “Fabulous: Stupendous” and includes some lush syth-strings by Rob Burger (Tin Hat.) Sherik’s saxophone and Parker’s guitar join with Blades keyboard, Baptista’s percussion and voice and Amendola’s drums and Wurlitzer to let this one develop. This lilting groove generates a joyful, loose and orchestrated sound that lifts your spirit.

If you have any blood pumping in your viens, then Amendola Vs Blades 
Everbody Wins  should be like a welcomed mainline injection into your 
groove center and reinvigorate any funk and soul that you have deep in your pysche.