Funk Inc.: Bobby Watley, Teddy Patterson, Doug Swanigan, Phil Brines, Cecil Hunt.
Recorded between October and November 1995.
Personnel: Bobby Watley (vocals, organ); Cecil Hunt (vocals, congas, percussion); The Naptones (vocals); Doug Swanigan (guitar, synthesizer, guitar synthesizer); Teddy Patterson (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone); Phil Brines (drums, percussion).
Liner Note Authors: George Benson ; Lee Hildebrand.
Recording information: Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, NJ (10/23/1995-11/09/1995).
Photographer: Joe Rosen.
In 1995 -- 21 years after Funk, Inc.'s breakup -- organist and Jimmy Smith disciple Bobby Watley decided to assemble a new edition of his gritty soul-jazz quintet. Two original members -- conga player Cecil Hunt and Watley himself -- were joined by saxman Teddy Patterson, guitarist Doug Swanigan and drummer Phil Brines. Watley unveiled his new Funk with Urban Renewal, a solid effort that, like such classics as Chicken Lickin' and Hangin' Out, effectively combines the immediacy of soul and funk with the spontaneity of jazz. Before its demise, the original Funk had deteriorated quite a bit by smothering itself with overproduction; but that's not a problem here. From the earthy, down-home blues themes of "Sneaky" and "Get Some More" to a commanding interpretation of Herbie Mann's "Memphis Underground," Renewal makes it clear that accessibility and artistic integrity aren't mutually exclusive. ~ Alex Henderson