Reviews Zone

York: The Vintage Funk Vol. 1 (Upper Level Records) Out now



4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)



There seems to be a resurgence of interest in the “Back To…” events; festivals  club nights focused on music from a specific decade; 70s, 80, 90s and so on.

German sax’ man, flautist, composer and producer YORK (stylised all capitals) has dropped an unashamed set of 70s era vintage funk that conjures up the sweaty dancefloors, white stillettos and handbags of the discotheque dance floors of that fun decade.

A baker’s dozen tracks across his second solo album, heavily nodding to the likes of James Brown, Sister Sledge, Frankie Beverly’s Maze, Van McCoy, Chic, Issac Hayes et al.

This very decent long player fast follows up his debut solo album, “The Soul Jazz Experience Vol. 1” from six months prior to this new release.

YORK is a seasoned session and side man for such legends as Randy Crawford, Phil Collins, Mousse T and many others, and here, he adds Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Hohner Clavinet, B3 organ and bass to his sax and flute duties. He also penned and produced all the songs.

First up, “Ain’t No Love”, featuring vocals from Josephine Nightingale. UK singer Olvi Dean (very nice voice)and US rapper Liv evoke a funky disco feeling on “I’m Not Ready To Go Home”, in which YORK engages in a battle between his flute and rapper Liv, fuelled by R.T. King‘s “James Brown guitar”.

“Boogie, Boogie, Boogie” features a cracking vocal from the talented UK souk and r&b singer Pete Simpson. The horns get a run out on “The Funky 12”. “Big Love For C”,  is a standout more laid back instrumental cut, gorgeous flute work from YORK, a shoo-in for a TV or movie soundtrack.

“I Don’t Care” features Catherine Nightingale on vocals and US rapper Pablo, a nice fit together. “Feel The Groove” will be a live favourite; here with Selena Evan on vocals. Another track that’d work well on a TV/movie soundtrack, “Fine Crime”. Like this a lot.

“Mr. Woofer” presents cool midtempo soul with a second appearance by Josephine Nightingale, sounding a tad like the great Ruby Turner.

Pete Simpson pops up again on  “No Masterplan”, and I gotta say, he is a real find, no disrespect to the other vocalists on this album. Horns sound killer on this track. “No Masterplan” may well be the hottest cut here.

“Walk At Night In SFO” is a mid-tempo instrumental with Latin flavours, and some fine flute work. Pablo is back to rap on penultimate cut “Move Ya Body”.

The closer, “Joy”, is a pleasant ballad, again featuring the British singer Olvi Dean. To finish on the previous track may well have been a stronger end to the set, as this track seems to stick out from the others and just doesn’t do it for me…

But, I am sure many others will dig it all. A strong offering from YORK overall, nicely showcasing his bag of skills in many departments. Be good to see what he delivers next.


By James Silver


1 out of 5 stars (1 / 5) ‘Dull Zone’
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