Led by brainchild bassist and composer Stefan Redtenbacher, this R&B/jazz crossover project is exceptional. The ‘Funkestra’ is constructed with contrasting horn sections: “The Jericho Horns” from the UK and the “Hornheads” from the US. The core rhythm section comprised of guitar, bass, B3, and Rhodes rounds out the ensemble. The Funkestra never seems to miss a ‘groove’. “Crankmaster General” initiates ‘funkily-sound’ featuring excellent shedding on guitar via Eric Krasno. Redtenbacher lays a solid bass foundation on “The Cooker”, with Lenny Pickett showing off mad tenor sax chops. “Unsquare Blues”, drenched in gospel influence, provides sax soloist Paul Booth ample inspiration while fellow standout “One Afternoon in Tunisia” contrasts with more restraint, still packing a K.O. punch. Sixteen tracks deep, The Cooker never disappoints. Consistent and enjoyable, the effort serves as a triumphant showcase of top-rate musicianship.
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