Feb 15th, 2022
Australian ‘down-under’ dusty jazzfunk and gritty rare grooves ensemble return on their 4th studio album (written and constructed during the last 12-18 months of the cv-19 climate)
Kerbside Collection’s 4th studio album of dusty, gritty jazzfunk grooves Round the Corner is wrapped up in a story from start to finish and their most ambitious output to date. Opening with the slightly pointy, gritty-brass-lead, swung ballad “Ortigas” (Spanish botanical name of a highly irritating plant species) referring to when the global pandemic initially struck back in February-March 2020, followed by a classic dusty Kerbside funky instrumental groove prelude. Before the album kicks in proper, with a sizzling rendition of a Banda Black Rio rarity (from their now legendary 1977 debut album) giving hints at what’s to come from the rest of the album with its jazz-rock-funk-fusion inflections, strutting grooves and super tight brass section.
Things stay funky with a tribute to one of Australia’s finest funk combos – Cookin’ on 3 Burners (the leader of which – Jake Mason – recorded their first album – Mind The Curb, and guested on their previous record Smoke Signals and the warmly received funky reggae single “Cajun Jollof”). A fun lovin’, home-cooked-style, garage-funk number with scratchin’ guitars and organ bubbling away underneath the funky flute and brass section, complete with bongo, b-boy, drum break workout.
Title track “Round The Corner” refers to some of the ‘unknowns’ and ‘uncertainties’ around the corner post cv-19, but also an uplifting acid-jazz funk groove affirmation looking forward to the positive things, and seasons to come round these kinds of unknown bends, featuring the rubbery, pulsating bass playing of Lachlan ‘Swampdog’ Symons and acoustic piano solo from Andrew Fincher, sharp drum grooves wrapped up into a dancefloor-friendly, contemporary live jazzfunk tune with the core rhythm section in raw, upfront trio mode.The track embodies some of the current resurgence of live jazz-house-crossover sounds coming out of Australia (Horatio Luna/First Biege) whilst also reminding us of acid-jazz music from people like Incognito, The Rebirth, and Herbie Hancock‘s 70’s jazz-fusion years.
“Curaidh” conjures up some slightly Vulfpeck stripped back style grooves, lead by the funky 1970’s electric Yamaha piano and a delta-blues guitar solo workout to finish. The track title takes its name from a Gaelic/Celtic dialect word reference to ‘warrior’, penned by the collection’s long time Scottish keys collaborator Euan Gardiner, responsible for one of the groups classic soul-jazz ballads “41 Bernhard” (from 1st album 2011).
Things then begin to simmer down with the golden, rustic, slightly Stevie Wonder-ish grooves of “Glaze” featuring new additions and instruments never heard on a Kerbside Collection record yet – including Clavinet, Bass Clarinet and a string section, accompanied by lush fender Rhodes, jazzy guitar flourishes and some silky flute work throughout for fans of vintage 4hero, early Jamiroquai, and Mizell Brothers cinematic funk moments.
Before things cool down proper, with a mesmerising version of a Joe Sample coastal, soul-jazz classic, featuring Brazilian flautist Ney Oliveira and the breathtaking, breezy, strings section arranged by Brisbane composer Cam Bower, (and featuring the drummer’s mum on violin). “New Day, New Year” is an organic, stripped back, calming, contemplative piano lead, soul-jazz, head-nod piece; featuring again the lush string ensemble and the band’s tight rhythm section trio foundation, holding things down in the groove.
The album finishes with 2 stylistically different, but also complimentary works. First up a sizzling piano-trio style lead, latin-jazz number (for fans of some classic Blue Note, Horace Silver vibes) with 2 tasty solos from the virtuosos on the album – Papa Joe on baritone sax and Andrew Fincher on acoustic baby grand piano – one for the jazz dancers! Closing with a sublime, summery, soul-reggae outro, referring to some of the song’s origins (on the coasts of Portugal), but also emanating some coastal South Pacific sounding flavours from the band’s home town surrounds – a pleasant way to end the record and the story of things Round the Corner.