Plunky & Oneness
Gig Seeker Pro

Plunky & Oneness

Richmond, Virginia, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2019 | SELF

Richmond, Virginia, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2019
Band Jazz Funk




"Forever In A Moment"

J. Plunky Branch is another sax and production talent – a major one. His sound has been heard on The Cosby Show, on avant-garde albums by Pharaoh Sanders and 18 albums released though his own N.A.M.E. Brand label covering funk, reggae, African and jazz.
This is a nice jazzy outing and gets off to an optimistic start with Happiness Is, where the sax sound is already distinctive. On It Feels so Right and Come with Me, not only are the vocals well delivered but the lyrics are original with some clever rhyming in there. I found Forever my Love totally irresistible – it has a tough synth bass groove and though the drum sound is mechanical, this is funky stuff. The vocals are strong too.
Just Ahead and to the Left is another strong groove-led tune with loads of bass where the synth drum sounds work well. The doubled horn lines are very Candy Dullfer-like and this song, which is really a jam, must be dynamite live. The song I just cannot leave alone is Relax, We’re Among Friends – not only do I love that title but there’s in-the-pocket soprano sax blowing over a really strong melody. That bass is crisp and moves around just right – nice, nice, nice. Very cool. Summer’s coming – buy a copy of this and take some chairs outside.
- Smooth

"Oneness of Juju - Space jungle Luv"

Oneness of JuJu
Space Jungle Luv
Formed in 1971 (and still going strong) Oneness of JuJu was the brainchild of saxophonist J. Plunky Branch. Like many others on the legendary Strata East label, Oneness mixed R&B, free jazz, afro-Brazilian percussion and down-home funk with an upbeat spiritual message, earning them a place in many a DJ’s vinyl box in the process.

Space Jungle Luv emerged in 1976 (a year after the classic African Rhythms set) and marked a distinct change of direction for Plunky and co. Their feet were still in the ghetto, but this time they were looking at the stars; headed up by the strong, sweet vocal stylings of Jacqueline Holman (aka Lady Eka-Ete) and Branch’s often effects drenched saxophones, this is cosmic dancefloor jazz of the first water.

Space Jungle Luv opens with the loose limbed latin drift of "River Luv Rite", and moves through the deep, soulful funk of "Follow Me" to the Pharoah Sanders-esque "Soul Love Now" (pianist Joe Bonner was a member of Oneness for this set, and Branch had appeared on Pharoah's Wisdom of Music album).

"Space Jungle Funk" does what it says on the tin; Branch’s heavily processed tenor snakes, squelches and squeals its way through a zero gravity slice of flanged ambient jazz funk. "The Connection" offers more earthbound grooves; here Branch’s tenor is electronically ghosted into a bass clarinet and moog synth orchestra over Ronnie Toler’s pushy funk drums and guitarist Melvin Glover’s muted wah chords. Glover shines on the beautiful "Love’s Messenger" with a sweet toned, thoughtful solo, while "Bootsie’s Lament" showcases Holman’s sublime vocal over Branch’s rainforest flutes and afro percussion stylings.

The missing link between Kool and the Gang (70s vintage) and the deep jazz of Pharoah Sanders, Gary Bartz and the like, this is a must for any self respecting collection…Branch out !

Reviewer: Peter Marsh

...the missing link between Kool and the Gang (70s vintage) and the deep jazz of Sanders, Gary Bartz and the like, this is a must for any self respecting collection...
- Peter Marsh

"Currents: Got to Move Something"

cd reviews by Lucy Tauss

With Got to Move Something (N.A.M.E.), Afro-funk veterans Plunky & Oneness (formerly Oneness of Juju) offer a prodigious helping of the multistylistic sound and optimistic perspective on life. Led by saxophonist-vocalist-composer J. Plunky Branch, the group performs an irresistible blend of jazz, funk, R&B, hip-hop and more on this two-CD set. Disc one’s collection of instrumentals and vocal tunes includes such highlights as the grooving, electronica-meets-funk title track, celebrations of love on “You Make It Happen” and “The Reasons I adore You” and the uplifting message that love and enlightenment will triumph over hate on “Everything Is Gonna Be Alright.” Recorded during a concert last summer in Atlanta, disc two documents the band’s electrifying live show. Included are several tunes from disc one, as well as older tracks such as the funky jam “African Rhythms,” the gloriously lyrical “African Sunset” and the reggae time “Be About the Future,” which incorporates a bit of Bob Marley’s “Get Up Stand Up.” If the performances on these two discs don’t get you up and moving, well then, nothing will.
- JazzTimes - America's Jazz Magazine

"Saxy Mellow Moments"


Plunky & Oneness
Saxy Mellow Moments

Plunky Branch, Tonya Lazenby, Anthony Ingram, Asante, Kevin Davis, Ronnie Cokes, Jamiah Branch, Kevin Teasley, Herbert ‘Hop’ Pollard, Chris Beasley, P. Muzi Branch, Ras Mel Glover. N.A.M.E. Brand Records.

It’s very rare that one finds a CD that can be listened to without programming the order, or skipping certain songs. Saxy Mellow Moments is one of those entrancing rarities.
Although every song can stand on it’s own merit as a winner, together they make for tender moments by candlelight, firelight, or moonlight. The first track, The Son Also Rises, is a dreamy number that escalates with faint echoes of Plunky’s sax in the background, and then continues with percussion, guitar and keyboards while Plunky catches his breath. The following track, By Special Request, is an up-tempo number, that starts where the previous track ended, but without the dreamy effects. Such continuity is displayed throughout the album as each song takes you further into the moment. Do Drop Inn is another up-tempo winner with P. Muzi Branch holding the group steady with a captivating bass line. Where Do Drop Inn left off, I-95 North starts, and goes and goes and goes, making you sway and snap. The most meditative piece on the album, The Open Door brings to mind the movement of waves, much like the album itself in its sequencing. Saxy Mellow Moments closes with Mellow Celestial Blues, which combines chime-like sounds of the midi horn bells, soprano sax and Ras Mel Glover slight strumming guitar.
In upcoming years, many children will owe their conception to this album. Plunky holds each note for just the right amount of time. He never gives too much, or too little. Plunky and Oneness have succeeded in defining ‘mellow’. - F.M.C.
- Rapport Magazine

"What Critics Say..."


"Spending an evening with Plunky and the Oneness is spending an evening full of festive carnivals and romantic wonder... The best part was knowing that even if you were a jazz fan, a devout R&B listener or a rapper, you would be thoroughly satisfied. Plunky & Oneness is a must-see." - Beat Premier Magazine

"..some of the more intriguing arrangements... combine African percussion, sax and electronics in a refreshing and sometimes exotic fashion" - Mike Joyce, The Washington Post

"... nothing less than brilliant and exciting!" - Virginian Review

"[Opening the Hampton Jazz Festival] Plunky and his seven piece ensemble captivated the audience and established a momentum for all other artists to follow." - The Richmond Afro-American

"The Richmond-based group turned out to be an excellent choice for the occasion, since the spirit of celebration was an infectious force in its music" - The Virginia Gazette

"Equally at home on tenor and soprano saxophone, Plunky leads with a driving attack and a rocking, fiery, blues-oriented inventiveness in solos that seems to inspire increasing crunch from an already blasting back-up group." The Charleston, S.C. News & Courier


"What a terrific performance you gave... I was overwhelmed be the myriad of compliments from our patrons on the quality of the performance and the energy of the musicians." - Mount Aloysius College, Pennsylvania

"I was particularly impressed by your talent and your natural ability to educate our youngsters about our musical heritage." - Middle School Principal

"The presentation of the history of jazz with emphasis on the Harlem Renaissance was excellent and complimented our study in the classroom. The students and teachers were enthusiastic about the program and teachers have been asking if we could schedule a similar program next year." - Supervisor of Social Studies

"The lecture demonstration was one of the best we have had. You had a good balance of explanation and musical examples in developing the topic..." Milligan College Arts Council

"Their music and their message was very impressive." Elementary School Principal

"You were a breath of fresh air. You held our students spellbound." - Elementary School Principal

"For several days afterward, the students and staff were commenting on how enlightening the program was on African musical heritage." - Middle School Principal

"The students in the course are asked to write a journal entry for each presentation... Every one of the 28 entries on "Plunky" glowed with good feelings and energy... Not only were you able to convey a great deal of information in a short period of time, more importantly you were able to convey your enthusiasm and passion for the subject... which has sparked some real interest in the students." - Faculty Director, Longwood College

"It is obvious that you were thoroughly prepared and knew just how to customize your presentations to a faculty not too familiar with teaching African and African-American Music from a wholistic perspective." - Savannah State College Dean

- Various


J. Plunky Branch Discography
CD Album Releases:
Plunky - Plunky On Fire
Plunky & Oneness – 2012 Collectors Box Set (5-CD Compilation)
Plunky - Cold Heat
Plunky & Oneness - Forever In A Moment
Oneness of Juju - African Rhythms 1970-1982
Plunky & Oneness - Got to Move Something
Plunky & Oneness - Saxy Mellow Moments
Plunky & Oneness - Got to be Phunky
Plunky & Oneness - I Can’t Hold Back
Plunky & Oneness - Groove Tones
Plunky - The Oneness of Funk
Plunky - One World One Music
Plunky - Move Into the Light
Plunky - Tropical Chill
Plunky & Oneness of Juju - Every Way But Loose
Oneness of Juju - Space Jungle Luv
Oneness of Juju - African Rhythms
Oneness of Juju - Bush Brothers & Space Rangers
Plunky & Oneness of Juju - Electric Juju Nation
Juju - Chapter Two: Nia
Juju - A Message From Mozambique
Juju - Live at 131 Prince Street
J. Plunky Branch - Solo Journey Between Dimensions
J. Plunky Branch - Instrumental Praise
J. Plunky Branch - Spiritual Sounds Within My Soul
Shadiah & Plunky - Music Medicine for the Soul
Plunky – Christmas Spirit Instrumentally Yours

DVD Releases:
Plunky & Oneness - Drop Video Collection
Plunky & Oneness of Juju - Live In Paris
Plunky Branch - Under The Radar - A Survey of Afro-Cuban Music

Other recordings with Plunky:
Ndikho & The Natives
Shadiah Ivy Hylton
Ghanaian High Life
Ghanaian Gospel



Plunky & Oneness, one of the most enduring and versatile funk, jazz, Afro-fusion groups of all time is currently booking festival, concert, and club performance dates. The group has been described as “the missing link between Pharaoh Sanders and Kool & the Gang!” Onstage, it’s like John Coltrane meets George Clinton’s P-Funk or Grover Washington with Jill Scott, a festive carnival and a party with a purpose.

Led by saxophonist J. Plunky Branch, who has been gigging and touring for over 35 years, Plunky & Oneness is a unique combination: exotic smooth grooves, sax, vocals, African percussion, and electronics. This, along with the group’s infectious energy, moves audiences of all ages to celebrate, dance and shout.

Over the years Plunky has produced and released 25 albums of original funk soul, avant-garde jazz, fusion, gospel and African music. His latest releases are, Cold Heat, a new CD album featuring his funk jazz singing, playing and songwriting in collaboration with VA hip-hop producers Setworkrz and Danja Mowf; and Plunky & Oneness of Juju - Live In Paris DVD and double CD.

Plunky & Oneness has performed at numerous festivals, including: three times at the National Black Arts Festival, Atlanta, Georgia; twice at the Hampton Jazz Festival in Virginia; and at the World’s Fair in New Orleans. The group has toured in Africa and Europe, with headline performances at London and Paris. (Plunky & Oneness of Juju toured in the French Riviera in March, 2006. and plan to return to Europe in November, 2007) They have opened concerts for some of the biggest names in Black music, including: Earth Wind & Fire, Patti LaBelle, B. B. King, Ray Charles, Frankie Beverly & Maze, Sun Ra, The Isley Brothers and Roy Ayers. In addition to their performances at the National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, VA and at Alice Tully Hall at the Lincoln Center in New York, Plunky & Oneness enjoys the intimacy and loyalty of smaller venues in their native Mid-Atlantic region.

For booking information, contact: J. Plunky Branch, 804-355-3586
Email:; website:

Saxophonist J. Plunky Branch is an experienced performer, songwriter and producer, and is president of N.A.M.E. Brand Records, through which he has released 18 albums. At one time Plunky was a studio musician for television's top-rated sitcom, "The Cosby Show. His song “Every Way But Loose” was a top-ten soul music chart hit in London. He has appeared on avant-garde jazz albums by Pharaoh Sanders, Hamiett Bluitt and others. Nowadays Plunky spends his time leading his bandmates onstage playing rousing funk, R&B, jazz, African, reggae and rap and making music in his recording studio.

Plunky’s European tours have taken him to England, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. He twice toured Ghana, West Africa, once for the Ghana National Commission on Children, and again as a cultural specialist for the U.S. Information Agency. During the last 18 months he has performed in England, explored music business opportunities in France and Japan and traveled to Brazil and to Cuba twice to research and produce music recordings.
With his group, Plunky & Oneness, he has opened shows for Patti Labelle, Ray Charles, Najee, Yellow Jackets, and Frankie Beverly & Maze and more. Plunky & Oneness performed at the New Orleans World’s Fair, the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta (four times) and twice at the Hampton Jazz Festival in his native Virginia. For more than 10 years Plunky has toured continually with support from the Virginia Commission for the Arts (VCA).

Plunky’s career accomplishments are as varied as his music and his diverse interests, which include: African art and culture, history, digital technology, politics and the media. In addition to being a veteran saxophonist and composer, J. Plunky Branch has served as an administrator, lecturer and teacher. He has been a frequent arts panelist for the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Plunky is a two-time recipient of the NEA Jazz Fellowship and he was appointed to the Governor’s Task Force for the Promotion of the Arts in Virginia. He has been Director of the Jazz Ensemble at Virginia Union University as well as an instructor of Afro-American Music History at Virginia Commonwealth University, both in Richmond.

Recognized by Richmond Magazine as Musician of the Year for 1999, Plunky is a sought after artist-in-residence and performer for public schools systems. He has written film scripts, journals of his travels, poems and over 200 songs.

Throughout his career Plunky has entertained and taught thousands, and in the process, has developed a broad and loyal following. During his 1987 West African tour, critics proclaimed Plunky "one of the greatest living saxophonist!" In a context where