Lettuce Records, 2015

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Boston’s Lettuce has been busy keeping funk and jazz alive since 1992. After gaining a word of mouth buzz in major cities around the world, Lettuce (their name originates from 'let us play') released Outta Here in 2002 to much acclaim, and their subsequent albums have been equally well received. Crush, their fourth album, even sat at the top spot on the U.S. Jazz Albums chart. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Lettuce's work is incredibly polished and performed with a unique precision. It's no surprise that members of the band also play in Soulive and Rustic Overtones and have toured with Britney Spears and Lady Gaga.

As to be expected considering their genre of choice, grooves play a large part of Lettuce's formula. However, each player takes his or her moment in the spotlight, such as the intricate guitar work on “Phyllis” or the expert synth work of “Trilogy.” Horns and bass are integral parts of the equation and often provide a blast of funk fun, especially on the disc opener “The Force.” But the band never forgets a soul aspect, and Alecia Chakour's amazing vocals help punctuate that on “He Made A Woman Out Of Me.” While vocals are sparse here, they do make an appearance on “Sounds Like A Party,” and this time it's by the impressive Nigel Hall.

However, don't think that funk is the only avenue explored here. Songs like “Silverdome” are indebted to hip-hop, while “The New Reel” is a calmer, experimental exercise. While much of the album feels '70s referenced, especially with the bass work, the guitar riffs included often feel very contemporary.

Despite many of the songs here being long, there is also a series of brief instrumentals sprinkled throughout. Each one is under a minute and they are all very similar, and while I'm sure the band had a reason to include them, from the outside they don’t add anything substantial to the album.

Fans of Lettuce have long championed them the masters of funk, and this album will only solidify that sentiment for that particular crowd. If you weren't already a fan, it's unlikely this will convert you, and if you are, you've no doubt played Crush to ad nauseam by now.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2017 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Lettuce Records, and is used for informational purposes only.