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The New Cool: Holiday Weekend Funk Party

Abe Beeson
When held up to the sun, you can almost see the funk in the grooves!

With the Independence Day parties landing smack in the middle of this week, the New Cool helps you keep the barbecue hot through the weekend with two hours of funky modern jazz. It's a mix to get you moving Saturday afternoon, from the funk origins of New Orleans to Africa-via-London, from cutting edge dance floor experiments to good ol' greasy organ trios, KNKX has what you need.

I'm particularly proud to celebrate many of the finest groove masters of the Northwest this week. You'll hear from the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio (recently making waves at the Montreal Jazz Festival!), and we'll also go back to Polyrhythmics' early collection Libra Stripes for the afro-beat-drenched soundtrack-funk of "Bobo". They're at Timberfest! in Carnation July 13th.

You'll hear drummer Barrett Martin's Seattle-area group, including processed piano and Hammond organ from Wayne Horvitz on the interstellar groover "Sands of Venus". Check out their exclusive KNKX studio session from last Fall, and prepare yourself for yet another album due as soon as this coming Winter.

Seattle sax icon Skerik presents his all-star jazz-rock group Crack Sabbath at the High Dive July 13th, you'll hear the Earshot Hall of Famer featured in an exclusive KNKX studio session with his friends Steven Bernstein (slide trumpet), Charlie Hunter (8-string guitar), and Bobby Previte (drum kit). Their band Omaha Diner takes on the challenge of improving on #1 hits, and their version of Macklemore's "Thrift Shop" had our studio audience gobsmacked.

For a bit of electronic deep grooves, catch Mr Scruff remixing the Ramsey Lewis late-60s booty-shaker "Do What You Wanna". Also on the remix list, Joe Claussell puts some electro-mojo on the Wild Magnolia's Big Easy dance party song "Battlefield" from the mid-70s. The focus on this one is the wild harmonica action of Rob Paparozzi, formerly of Blood, Sweat & Tears.

Trumpeter Russell Gunn's own electronic drum production informs his soulful song "You Don't Love Me," and FKJ's blend of New Jack Swing and jazz fusion electric piano will help the sun burn off Saturday's cloudy skies on the bouncy tune "Joy".

Keyon Harrold brings his band to Seattle's Triple Door in October. Dig the hip hop rhythms powering the trumpeter's new release, The Mugician with a cool rap from his band's sax player, Chelsea Baratz. Roy Hargrove's RH Factor skitters through a vocal feature for Renee Neufville.

Mixing it up a bit, Romanian "loud jazz" trio Jazzybit sets a beat around acoustic and electric piano bursts, John Scofield's unmistakable guitar sound gets a gospel setting alongside the New Orleans gospel funk of pianist Jon Cleary, and trumpeter Nicholas Payton combines funky electric keys with synthetic string section fllourishes for a fun disco-lite flavor.

The modern funk greats will be here Saturday - or call 'em a jam band, they don't care - Medeski, Martin & Wood lay down a slightly Cuban groove on the acoustic "Mami Gato". Boston supergroup Lettuce dive headlong into funk-rocker "Chief", with a firey solo from guitarist Adam "Schmeeans" Smirnoff.

For the best listening experience, be sure to have a cold beverage on hand and perhaps some barbecue left overs. Even if you're wrapped up in weekend chores, The New Cool is in party mode this weekend, so let your freak flag fly high!

The New Cool airs Saturdays from 3 to 5pm, hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle.