Plunky & Oneness Release Nu-Jazz Hip-Hop Album: Never Too Late
Never Too Late, the new album by Afro-funk, jazz veteran, J. Plunky Branch and his group Plunky & Oneness bridges genres and generations. The ambitious 16-song collection includes neo-soul, nu-jazz, and hip-hop songs about love, wisdom and purposeful partying. With Never Too Late Plunky & Oneness prove that eclecticism is no vice and variety can be its own reward.
Produced by Plunky and his talented son, J. "Fire" Branch, Never Too Late is a collage of musical cross references and transmutations. The album begins with neo soul love songs, and it ends with go-go and funk. But, it is the meaningful message music in the middle that is the hip-hop jazz, heart and soul of the album. This is cutting edge stuff produced by Fire sampling Plunky's songs from the 1970's, 80's and 90's and dubbing in new live performances and looped beats. This is father and son using past and present techniques to create future music.
Funk is grown folks music. Fused with hip-hop, it can be music thatdelivers the word. On Never Too Late Plunky plays the role of the OG, the "Original Griot", using lyrics to drop knowledge and to encourage and inspire. He is the "Old Guru" who spits, spouts, and speaks on philosophies of love and life, and advocates getting funky with it. The songs, riding on waves of urban rhythms, live music and deejay effects, convey lessons learned, urging us to "Be About the Future" while feeling our "Tribal Vibe" and acknowledging "We are One."
Never Too Late, Plunky's 25th album, is primarily new and original music; however there are two cover songs and a bonus track in the collection. John Legend's "Tonight (Best You Ever Had), " the album's first single, is a saxophone-led go-go instrumental with sexy female vocal hooks. Frankie Beverly's classic, "We Are One, " also rendered as a sax and vocals combo, is still a soulful call to unifying love. The bonus track, "Tableau Noir, " is collaboration with famed French rapper, Akhenaton of the IAM Band. It is a rap song about dark times in the world being like images on a blackboard which can be erased.
The core Oneness group members breathe life into the music on the album. The sultry and soulful Charlayne "Chyp" Green is featured on vocals throughout. Young, VA-based musicians, keyboardist, J. L. Harris and guitarist, Jose Pomier, create shimmering, melodic tonal centers within the grooves. Bassist P. Muzi Branch, Plunky's brother and long-time collaborator, is still thumping and pumping the bottom of the funk - in sync with Fire's hip-hop beats and electronic percussion.
Time travel happens when rhythm meets change, when vibrations are altered and re-ordered, when fault lines are crossed, when generations are bridged, when memories create new visions. Never Too Late is all about timeless lessons of love and life and locomotion. And it's even more about Plunk phunk & the oneness thereof…
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