Like P-Funk stamped with a Meters imprint infused with the J.B.’s bombast and a Sly and the Family Stone vibe with a whiff of Jimmy McGriff, New Orleans’ Dumpstaphunk roars along, infused with the blood of funk royalty. Keyboardist Ivan Neville is Aaron Neville’s son; his cousin Ian Neville, on guitar, is Meters’ keyboardist Art Neville’s son. The group coalesced after a New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival set in 2003.
With a double bass attack courtesy of Tony Hall and Nick Daniels, and with trombonist Alex Wasily and drummer Devin Trusclair, Dumpstaphunk re-energizes funk on Where Do We Go From Here, focusing on politics as well as a good-time throw down.
Their latest outing is a confabulation of phunk with your basic big bottom end overlaid with a top coat snatched from a bevy of psychedelic rockers’ shoulders and draped over a who’s who of funkateers from the Bootsy, Wesley, Clinton, and Sly catalog. Bootsy’s imprint is not only heard, it’s the power behind the presentation from Collins’ new imprint The Funk Garage, started last year by Mascot Label Group, which debuted last June with J.B.’s saxman Maceo Parker’s Soul Food: Cooking with Maceo.
A Neville-ish vibe looms large over the proceedings, dominated by Ivan Neville’s B-3. But he still leaves plenty of room for a musical conversation with his bandmates as well as a few interlopers. Soulful Southern rocker Marcus King steps in for a wiggly, blistering guitar solo along with rock guitar icon Waddy Wachtel on the band’s remake of Buddy Miles’ 1973 “United Nations Stomp,” a treatment that sounds like Sly fronting P-Funk.
Trombone Shorty chunks a dumpsta fulla phunk, Fred Wesley-style, on “Justice 2020,” while Jurassic 5’s Chali 2na throws down an incendiary tirade about police brutality: “There’s a target on your back if you’re Black or a Latin dude / Women can get it too / These animals don’t have a clue / They’ll pack you in a pine box / while they’re back in their black and blues / Hiding behind a badge.”
Written and recorded initially in 2016, the song was recently updated, Chali 2na’s proclamation culminating with: “This land is drowning in Racist rhetoric in the face of true JUSTICE / It’s really JUST US / RAISE UP A CLUTCHED FIST / THIS ISN’T JUSTICE THIS SHIT’S DISGUSTING!” Neville overlays a Jimmy McGriff groove over a P-Funky acid-laced sermon on “Dumpstamental.”
“Itchy Boo” sounds like a J.B.’s infiltration of the Average White Band.
“Where Do We Go From Here” is the Sly-est of the offerings here, a funk-drenched, soulful plea for positivity that sounds ripped from the ’60s but is still relevant today: “There’s no guarantee in this thing called life, sometimes we wanna see what we think is right …. and it all comes down to love.”
Dumpstaphunk is a prescription good for what ails ya. If you can’t find it here, you don’t need it.