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The best kept secret in music


"Thornwood's Got The Funk!"

Are ya ready for some serious fusion-funk? Then this 5-track debut CD, JUST A LITTLE SLY, is the one for you. Thornwood, a kickin’ band from Rochester, N.Y., knows how to lay it down, with a sound that could easily be described as “The Crusaders meet the Headhunters”. It’s all energy and superb musicianship on this disc, which combines three Sly Stone tunes with a couple of solid originals. Thornwood is a collaboration between guitarist Marcus Robinson and trumpet player Herb Smith, who have put together a group of incredibly talented and vibrant musicians. They describe their music as a combination of “’old school’ rawness [and] a ‘new school’ urban relevance.” Any way you want to describe it, you’ll dig this stuff. Gregory “G-Rob” Robinson knocks me out with his soulful R&B vocals on “Family Affair,” “Babies Makin’ Babies,” and the original, “Our Time Together.” Then there’s Tony Newton, best known for his work with Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, and Tony Williams, laying down some incredibly funky bass lines. Check out his fusion-inspired solo on “Babies Makin’ Babies.” This album is a kick in the butt, and definitely leaves me wanting to hear more from this exciting new group. Got energy? Want more? Then get yourself a copy of Thornwood’s debut album, JUST A LITTLE SLY. ~Scott O’Brien - Scott O'Brien,

"Solid Remakes of the Sly and The Family Stone Classics"

Thornwood hails from Rochester New York, but don’t let the name of the city throw you off, this band has a major sound on their new EP Just A Little Sly.

Guitar player Marcus Robinson spearheads this very talented assembly with chops to die for, while the funky and smooth grooves of the brass help the music to reach levels of maturity that is reserved for experts in their craft. This band has it all going for them. With a rock-solid rhythm and soul that prevails throughout the recording, even legends like Isaac Hayes would crack a smile. The vocal department is in fine shape as well, Gregory G-Rob Robinson has an excellent command of his talents-watch out Luther Vandross.

This five song EP kicks off with a tasty instrumental titled “Swingin Fo Da Fence,” a real funky jazz workout that borders on fusion. Then there is the Sly Stone classic “Family Affair,” modernized for city living in 2004. It seems so fresh and applicable today. You would swear it was just yesterday that the words and music came together for this session. For those of you to young to remember, “Family Affair” was recorded nearly 30 years ago. Speaking of today, “Babies Making Babies” is a sad but true reality in this world, the words hit home and the music is outstanding. Tony Newton cuts loose on the track…think of players like Stanley Clark or Marcus Miller who step forward and play the performance of a lifetime on a regular basis. Newton really kicks out the jams.

Five songs were not enough for me I had to listen again and again to get my funk fix. I really enjoyed this music and hope to hear more from this band very soon, hopefully a full length album next time.

1. Swingin Fo Da Fence (6:27)
2. If You Want Me To Stay (4:56)
3. Our Time Together (5:17)
4. Family Affair
5. Babies Making Babies (4:56)

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck - Keith Hanakeck,

"I Love Your Music and Your Name"

Thornwood is "batting 1000" with me. You guys are like a Modern-Day Jeff Lorber Fusion (slash) Pleasure (slash) BNH. You'll fit in nicely with the heavyweights I play on a daily basis. - DJ John Marcus, V107.9 Atlanta, GA

"You Guys Are So Good!"

Pat and I had a great time last night listening and watching you [Marcus] and your band. We were astounded at the level of the performances and you were right, the sax player was a "monster" as is your band mate Herb. We sat near the drummer's wife and she said her husband was excited and terrifically nervous to be playing with you guys because you were so good. You were so good! - Mike Cook

"If Funk is Your Ache, Then Thornwood is Your Cure!"

Thornwood brings the Funk!
On August 7th a brand new band brought some old school funk to a
standing room only Montage Grill. Thornwood, who has a new five song EP, which pays tribute to Sly Stone, not only brought the funk but also brought a great R&B vibe to the club. Cinnamon a guest vocalist had the crowd on the dance floor jammin to classic funk and soul tunes. The band led by Marcus Robinson on guitar, who played with Mandrill, and Herb Smith on trumpet had the funk down. The show ended with the classic James Brown tune "Pass the Peas" where Bill Tiberio, on alto sax, gave it a Maceo like work out.

If funk is your ache, Thorwood is your cure!

Dave Moskal
Host of "Muskie's Juke Joint"
Sunday's 7-10pm (Jazz 90.1)
- DJ Dave Moskal WGMC Jazz 90.1


"Family Affair" (radio play and streaming)
"Babies Making Babies" (radio play and streaming)

"...just a little Sly" (streaming)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Thornwood, a Jazz-Funk Band based in Rochester, NY is “just a little Sly”, which happens to be the title of their debut CD. Thornwood uses a heavy dose of the Crusaders, throws in the finesse of the Marcus Miller/Mile Davis collaboration, and adds sheer funk and versatility reminiscent of George Duke and Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters band. When Gregory “G-Rob” Robinson stirs the pot with his soulful R&B vocals and urban contemporary sound, Thornwood produces some funk that is all their own.

The band is a collaboration between Marcus Robinson, founder and president of WMG Records, the independent label that signed Thornwood in early 2004 and Herb Smith, a veteran of the Western New York music scene. Smith has performed with such noted artists as Al Jareau, Natalie Cole, Doc Severenson and the O-Jays. Thornwood joins the ranks of the Upstate New York jazz environment that produced Grover Washington, Jr., Chuck Mangione and Cabo Frio.

“just a little Sly” features music from Sly and the Family Stone arranged by Herb Smith as well as original songs by Marcus Robinson, also arranged by Smith. The CD includes G-Rob’s interpretation of “It’s a Family Affair”, “Sing a Simple Song”, “Babies Making Babies” and “Our Time Together”. Tony Newton, best known for his work with the likes of Smokey Robinson, Tony Williams and Stevie Wonder, lays down some of most memorable bass lines in the Funk genre. His fusion-inspired tenor solo in “Babies Making Babies” is a show stopper!

Herb Smith’s sultry, muted trumpet solos and horn section arrangements add a dimension of sophistication and artistry to this funk-driven project. He is well complimented by newcomer Gustavo Lizarraga on saxophones, whose gritty tenor solo in “Swingin’ Fo’ Da’ Fence” is reminiscent of Wilton Felder and Maceo Parker. Marcus Robinson consistently delivers a heavy dose of funk with his scratching rhythms, sophisticated wah-wah grooves and soulful melodies. Kelvin Brooks (drums), Josh Solarsky (keyboards), Chuck Shew (percussion), Mike Parker (lead guitar on “Babies Making Babies”) and Ryan Yanel (trombone) deliver solid home-grown performances throughout.