George Anderson’s bass has underpinned the sound of the hugely
successful British jazz-funk outfit Shakatak since 1981. His very
satisfying solo albums “Positivity” (2009) and “Expressions” (2012)
have secured his reputation as a solo artist – and an invitation to
fulfil a dream of playing in front of South African fans in December
Those fans were treated to the cream of the songs from those first
two studio albums, kicking off with the insanely groovy, horn-laden
Herbie. For me, a song this good underlines the relevance that
British jazz-funk continues to have – I’ve always believed in it.
Fans of soul vocals will love the sultry Cool Operator and High and
Mighty Love. Vocalists Janine ‘Blaq Pearl’ and Mikhaela Faye Kruger
really do a fine job on these songs. The ‘London’ connection on the
hypnotic Weakness comes courtesy of another fine vocal from Debby
I’d love to have been in the audience for the crowd-pleasing Into U
and Back in the Day. George grooves like crazy on these songs and
the Stevie Wonder homage in Back in the Day sees him really throwing
down. Of course, when a bassman fronts his own band live, we hope
for a juicy solo and, oh yes, low-end fans can go nuts for Babel,
just before the band flies into the utterly sublime Latin Love. It
has delicious echoes of what George Duke was doing in the late
1970’s – I really can’t compliment it more highly than that. Props
to drummer Bjorn Petersen’s superb off-the beat playing here. Nathan
Carolus on guitar totally blazes and trumpeter Ian Smith takes a
short but splendid solo, as does saxman Don Vino.
We’re warmed up now, so following a take on Shak’s own Day by Day,
we launch into George Duke’s Brazilian Love Affair. What you don’t
know about this song, I can’t tell you. This foot-stomping,
hand-clapping masterpiece is a heartfelt tribute and, God knows, you
have to really feel the music to reproduce Byron Miller’s killer
bassline on this tune so well. Yes – of course GA solos on the
bridge – I have lump in my throat writing this because he totally
smashes it and fabulous memories come flooding back. Keyboardist
Raphael Bushman, another artist whose contribution was recorded in
London, has equally big shoes to fill and his soloing is
outstanding. The trumpet and sax both have superb moments. Wish
I’d been there...
While we’re talking of big shoes, Isaac Monty’s vocals on Never too
Much are very strong and this gem, obviously, has George holding
down the line just like Marcus Miller did. More than a cover version
– an outstanding performance.
The deluxe digital edition of this album includes three additional
songs: Funking for Cape Town (Funking for Jamaica), Wanna Make you
Mine and Beauty Inner Smile. The deep funk and sharp horn work on
Funking really are a fitting tribute to one of the most influential
jazz-influenced dance records ever.
Be in no doubt though, George’s own compositions draw out the best
in his band members and you’ll find lovely moments in the final two
songs from the expanded edition – they are both real growers, just
in different ways.
If you’re familiar with George Anderson’s solo output, you’ll enjoy
how it sounds live. If you’re not, you have some surprises in store.
In either case, you can’t fail to be drawn in by such a great
collection of original songs and covers, performed with great heart
and technical skill.
Check out the liner notes: George produced, arranged, mixed and
mastered this album. Oh and he played some damn fine bass!!
Secret Records SECCD128 – Producer George
To find out more, visit George Anderson's website
A few places where you can buy From Cape Town to London Live!
Release date is May 11th 2015.