In 1980, a nearly forgotten New Jersey group Minority Band released a jazz funk album named Journey The The Shore, only to disappear completely very soon after. Three decades later their independently released album has gained a reputation in the rare groove collecting world, and currently the original release commands a sizeable price tag in the said marketplace.
Now, the 5-piece group DopeGems, hailing from Nancy (France), provide us their interpretation of the title track from the rare LP. The group gives it a sonically slick work over, captivating the listener with audacious vibraphone and drums interplay without sacrificing any of the tightness or disco funk of the original.
“Journey To The Shore” is paired with an equally inspired rendition of “Quasar”, originally recorded on Herbie Hancock’s The Crossing but rather taking its cues from the 1977 version by Bennie Maupin, featuring its sophisticated arrangement by Onaje Allen Grubs. DopeGems manages to squeeze out a darkly shimmering diamond of tune from this sacred rare groove nugget, while respecting all the details of the symphonic original with only 5 musicians.
The quintet, composed of Slikk Tim (drums & arrangements), Greg F (guitar), Yragael Unfer (vibes), Giuliano Veludo (keys), and Emmanuel Harang (bass), is a collective of serious musicians with up front hip hop sensibility and are dedicated to unearth rare gems and play them as standards, just like a modern jazz ensemble would: a rare combination in the contemporary soundscape. This release should appeal to anybody, who likes their jazz without borders, from beat head to those who like to pat their thighs.
- Markus Karlqvist