We gave it a B+
Hip-hop DJs try to create the frenzy of a James Brown jam, but the drum machines they use can’t match his sweaty intensity. The Brand New Heavies, on the other hand, succeed by creating their dynamic jazz-funk the old-fashioned way on their self-titled album. They pound a drum kit, blow mean horns, smoke on guitar and bass, and jam with true exuberance. On songs like ”Dream Come True” and ”Ride in the Sky,” their pelvis-pushing grooves get an effervescent quality from the ethereal vocals of N’Dea Davenport. Even if it ain’t the tight, burning, churning soul of James Brown’s Funky People, that’s okay. The Brand New Heavies have produced the grooviest jazz-funk in years.