It’s been a while since I’ve seen this lot, I even played in a 10-piece Jazz band that supported them at one of Russ Dewbury’s infamous Jazz Bops something like 20 years ago, so that’s a measure of how long they’ve been around.
Formed in 1985, the line-up consists of the three original funketeers – Jan Kincaid (drums), Simon Bartholomew (guitar), Andrew Levy (bass) reunited with Atlanta-born vocalist N’Dea Davenport. They’re also augmented by a keyboard player, female backing singer and brass section consisting of trumpet and trombone.
The band are straight into the bass heavy funk from the get go, and a packed Concorde gives them a huge cheer as soon as they start playing. N’Dea Davenport is in fine form, showing a great vocal range and keeping up friendly banter with the audience throughout the gig. It’s a run through of all their greatest hits and it all sounds good, the brass section in particular helping to beef up the overall funk sound. Jan Kincaid keeps great funk time while singing both backing and lead vocals on some of the numbers, almost making it look effortless although it’s something that takes a lot of practise.
When each band member gets a chance to solo you get a feel for just how well they can actually play, and it’s all very impressive but for me it’s the bass heavy slap funk of Mr. Levy that steals the show – but a decent bassline will get me every time.
It’s a tight, impressive set. Danceable funk delivered by a band who know how to get the party started. They play a ninety minutes set that includes three encores and finish with “Dream come true”, their early 90’s hit for Acid Jazz.
Always worth checking out, the Brand New Heavies are like the UK’s version of The Meters and long may they continue to bring the funk.