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"'Junkyard Waltz' review"

I have Ohio funk in my blood-albeit once or twice removed- so I've always had some appreciation for the musical endeavors of Bootsy Collins prot'eg'e and Cincinnati homeboy Freekbass, even as I've wondered about the size of the audience for modern takes on old-school funk. Regardless, Junkyard Waltz, is Freekbass's most fully formed and groovealicious outing, and it would be even without guests like Phish bassist Mike Gordon, uber-weird guitarist Buckethead, and Bootsy's fellow P-Funk alums, Bernie Worrell and vocalist Gary "Mudbone" Cooper. Freekbass - can I call you Freek? - layers on the effect-laden bass parts to full-funk effect. Need some hints on how to use those envelope filter and synth pedals? Follow Freek's lead. - Bass Player Magazine /Bill Leigh

"Review of 'Junkyard Waltz'"

As any musician who has walked out of a club at the end of the night trying to figure out how to split $5 six ways can tell you, making a living playing original music isn’t easy. Chris Sherman (a.k.a. Freekbass) and his band (a.k.a. Freekbass) have accomplished the rare feat of not only making it with original music but making it without the help of a record company.

Sherman has built an impressive career with Freekbass, touring the region constantly. He’s done so by crafting a “show” — not just a balls-out live performance but a band whose music is dynamic, diverse, mysterious and captivating. Sherman and Co’s new album, Junkyard Waltz, is the kind of album you can get lost in. With so much going on from track to track, you can listen to these songs repeatedly and still hear something new every time. Considering Sherman’s bread and butter is Funk music, an art form more ass-based and often not super-cerebral, the album’s depth is all the more impressive. Junkyard Waltz is the past, present and future of Funk all rolled into one.

Like his pioneering forefathers (such as his mentor/exec producer Bootsy Collins), Sherman has taken the basics of Funk and turned them inside out. Junkyard Waltz is a journey through Sherman’s fertile artistic mind, assisted by the creativity of his many collaborators. Phish bassman Mike Gordon does some four-string dueting with him on the slinky, leaning title track, while guitar hero Buckethead lends some slanted riffs to the fantastic Hip Hop-driven track “Big Bang Bionic” (with awesome vocal contributions from MCs B-Czar and Piakahn). This is officially the best album Buckethead has been a part of this year (sorry, Axl).

Sherman has become something of a “musician’s musician” thanks to his skilled bass work. Often featured in bass player magazines and even the star of his own line of instructional DVDs, he's a savior of bass — not just the instrument but the sound. With the rise of iPods and MP3s, compressed, pinched recordings prevail in the marketplace, often losing the highs and lows of the sonics to a monochromatic, leveled-off blur.

Junkyard Waltz is an “alive” record, exploding with a wide palette of colors, tones and textures. Though Freekbass is a band renowned for its live shows, the album proves that Sherman and his cohorts are truly visionary artists in the studio.
- CityBeat (Mike Breen)

"Freekbass' punk goes nuclear"

Don't have a snow blower? You might try this: Put Freekbass' "Junkyard Waltz" on the stereo, point speakers outside and let these bone-shaking, rump-moving, wildly exciting slabs of modern funk melt every last inch of snow.

This is nuclear funk: superheated and super rubbery, yet not so steeped in the 70s that it feels like you've entered a way-back machine.

Freekbass employs turntables, some hip-hop styled vocals, rhythmic loops, synthesizers, bass and voice effects that firmly place "Junkyward Waltz' in the realm of now. The band updates classic P-Funk and Sly and the Family Stone-era funk in fresh, bold ways.

You know Freekbass -- which is both the name of both the band and its celebrated bass player-- is onto something when players such as Phish's Mike Gordon, P-Funkers Bernie Worrell, Bootsy Collins, and Gary "Mudbone" Cooper, singer Jen Durkin (Rhythm Devils), and distinctive guitarist Buckethead (Guns N' Roses) climb aboard to provide support.

The guitar-less title cut -- which rides thick, thrilling Gordon/Freekbass bass grooves, and features Durkin on vocals -- is the Doc's favorite track. It could go on forever. Funk and hip-hop collide on a crackling "Big Bang Bionic." The super-slinky, irresistible "Higher" slyly suggests what Sly might sound like today had he not gone wack.

The Doc also loves "Pretty Heavy Balance," which drops samples and spoken word fragments into a dizzying funk, turntable-scratching stew. Only "Ghost of Temptation" deviates from funk; it's more of a slow-building instrumental epic, ala Prince.

The satisfying CD closes with a deliberate, turntable-inflected, funk version of Golden Earring's 1982 classic, "Twilight Zone." - Erie-Times


-Junkyard Waltz LP
-Freekbass Live: grooveyard LP
-The Air Is Fresher Underground LP
-Body Over Mind LP
-A Sliver Of Shiver DVD



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