Album Review: Flóki Sessions – Boots in Place

Here’s a quick dispatch. You may be familiar with Color Red, the label headed by Eddie Robers, guitarist in the New Mastersounds. If you know about him and/or his group, you know that what’s on offer musically is always funk, always melodic, always deep-groove, always compelling. So if I told you that he has embarked on a side project called Flóki Sessions, you’d likely be intrigued. If I then told you (as I am now doing) that his collaborators I nthis project include George Porter Jr on bass and vocals, you’d be even more keen ot hear it.

And hear it you should. Recorded in Iceland, Boots in Place is a ten-track set featring Robers and Porter plus keyboarisst Robert Walter and drummer Nikki Glaspie. The set also features guest vocalists and horn players on several tracks. It’s similar in character to New Mastersounds, but certainly different enough that you’d never mistake it for Roberts’ main band. The tunes are the kind that will get you head nodding, your hips shakin’.

The sound is somewhere between ‘70s funk a la Hot Chocolate and current-day funky jazz fusion. The playing is more about ensemble work – hypnotic vibes and whatnot – than showoffy instrumental work. But with heavyweights like these, you can count on top-notch playing as well. My own tastes in this style run toward instrumental rather than vocal-fronted work, so the simmering “Black Apple” is my favorite. But “Everyone & Everything” is propulsive soul-funk (with Lamar Williams Jr on vocals) that wouldn’t be out of place on any best-of-genre collection. Listen and pick your fave.