Brooklyn Fun Essentials - Watcha Playin'

Acid Jazz Album - Brooklyn Funk Essentials - Watcha PlayinFollowing an 8 year hiatus, the acclaimed collective Brooklyn Funk Essentials triumphantly return with a new studio album Watcha Playin'. Immaculately produced by founder Lati Kronlund, the blistering set marks the legendary multicultural collective's 15th anniversary and is their first new studio offering since 2000's Make 'Em Like It.

Released Spring 2008 (on Black Plastic Magick/Comet Records), Watcha Playin' reunites the classic line-up of Kronlund (bass, beats, guitar, keyboards and turntables), vocalists Hanifah Walidah, Papa Dee and Everton Sylvester, and Yancy Drew (drums & vocals) alongside Desmond Foster (vocals & guitar), Iwan van Hetten (trumpet, keys & vocals), Philippe Monrose (percussion) and an impressive cast of notable guest contributors including Turkish super-star clarinet player Hüsnü Senlendirici and Tunisian Raï Diva Amina Annabi (lead vocals). Awa Manneh and Stephanie McKay (background vocals) and from Bebel Gilberto's band Masa Shimizu (guitars). The album is the forth studio release from the group who was born out of New York's buzzing hip-hop-jazz and slam poetry scenes in the early 90s.

Watcha Playin' finds the enduring outfit dispensing radiant sonic nirvana with masterful arrangements, eloquent lyrical narratives and exhilarating melodies. Written and road-tested during the band's 2007 reunion tour, the explosive set was recorded in New York, Paris, Amsterdam, Istanbul and Stockholm injecting a distinctive cosmopolitan flair vividly constructed around smooth textures and jubilant rhythms, which have become the band's signature (along with their impeccable live performances).

Throughout the 12-track opus, BFE brilliantly showcase their dexterity mining an eclectic musical terrain anchored in full-bodied urban dance grooves, stylized pop, sweltering 70s funk, irrepressible disco nostalgia, dance-hall-infected reggae/hip-hop jams, and flavourful poly-ethnic dub. Taking cues from contemporaries like Stephen and Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley, Gnarls Barkley, M.I.A., N.E.R.D., Brand New Heavies, Jamiroquai and Mr. Scruff, BFE weave a cohesive widescreen collection where the energy is infectious, the instrumentation superlative and the songs dynamic - carefully balancing political fire and ruminative societal critiques with transcendent elegies and euphoric party jams.

Watcha Playin' is a tour-de-force that harkens back to the spicy swagger of their landmark 1994 debut Cool and Steady and Easy (which featured their funky reggae-inspired reworking of Pharoah Sanders' classic "The Creator Has A Master Plan"), the vibrant traditional Turkish folk mosaics of 1998's Grammy-nominated In The Buzz Bag and the refined pop mélange of 2000's Make 'Em Like It.

Tracks like the magnetic Gypsy-Skamitzva bounce "Dibby Dibby Sound", "For A Few Dollars More / Faya" (a poignant political meditation railing against the fractured state of the world's money hungry democracies featuring Papa Dee and Everton), the slinky jazz-house scorcher "S-Curved" and the atomic maelstrom "My Jamaican Girl" (featuring Hanifah Walidah) are poised to propel the acclaimed act further into the pop consciousness without sacrificing their underground roots.

01. Need 12:40
02. Dance - Free Night 4:46
03. Bellybuttons T&a 5:00
04. Rude Boy Shuffle 6:38
05. The Park 4:11
06. Wendell Wedding 5:32
07. For A Few Dollars More 8:09
08. Work It Out 6:10
09. My Jamaican Girl 5:19
10. Dibby Dibby Sound 2:31
11. S-curved 7:46
12. The Day Before Adidi 6:12

Brooklyn Funk Essentials Website
Brooklyn Funk Essentials MySpace Page

Get Brooklyn Funk Essentials - Watcha Playin at Amazon


aj said...


Carlos said...

Hi Aj

Thanks for your blog, excellent stuff!
Can you re-post Mother Earth and Courtney Pine. Thanks a lot.

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Hi AJ,

My name is Ava and I'm the blog moderator for a site called Jemsite which is a guitar and music blog and forum (

I was interested in doing a post on Acid Jazz for the site but I really don't know much about the genre and wanted to ask for your help. I don't see an e-mail here so can you please e-mail me at

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What is Acid Jazz?

Acid jazz (also known as club jazz) is a musical genre that combines elements of soul music, funk, disco, particularly looping beats and modal harmony. It developed over the 1980s and 1990s and could be seen as tacking the sound of jazz-funk onto electronic dance/pop music.

The compositions of groups such as The Brand New Heavies and Incognito often feature chord structures usually associated with Jazz music. The Heavies in particular were known in their early years for beginning their songs as catchy pop and rapidly steering them into jazz territory before "resolving" the composition and thus not losing any pop listeners but successfully "exposing" them to jazz elements in "baby steps".

The acid jazz "movement" is also seen as a "revival" of jazz-funk or jazz fusion or soul jazz by leading DJs such as Norman Jay or Gilles Peterson or Patrick Forge, also known as "rare groove crate diggers".