Karl Denson's Tiny Universe

'ACL' sides

Phases and Stages

Karl Denson's Tiny Universe

The Bridge (Relaxed) What is that funky sound? Dunno. Sounds like a cross between Blue Note soul jazz of the late-Sixties/early-Seventies, and more recent acid jazz stylings. There's some fine improv, but damn if this shit don't do double-booty-duty too, with chicken scratch guitar, soulful sax, Hammond organ, bubbly bass, and shuffle snare. Must be Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, that tight-'n'-fluid powerhouse jam band that opened for Afrobeat-engine Femi Kuti at Stubb's last year. You know, the saxist/singer/flautist who came up playing with Lenny Kravitz and JB horn legend Fred Wesley, and helped found the Greyboy Allstars. Looks like Denson's latest, following up his expert Blue Note Dance Lesson #2, is once again the bomb. This album's good, not a weak track to be found. Check the Lenny-better-than-Lenny funk out on Curtis Mayfield's "Check Out Your Mind," and the Afrotastic "Because of Her Beauty," and the instro breakdown "Elephants." You can't miss the wah funk guitar and honey-toned horns in "Rise and Shine." All 11 tracks are soulful, but not slow, energetic, but not chaotic. That must be why they call the man "Diesel" -- he and his not-so-Tiny Universe fire up a big funk motor. Wait'll they hit the stage. (Sunday, Sept. 29, 2:30-3:30pm, Feature stage.)

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