The concept of an amalgamation of funk and jazz is not new. This fusion goes by several names – with fusion (or more specifically jazz fusion) being one of them. Others include smooth jazz, contemporary jazz, soul jazz and acid jazz. Trumpeter Doug Jackson isn’t content to be limited to the existing monikers. He creates a name of his own – FUAZZ – to describe the music on his new recording, Stowaway. FUAZZ stands for funk and jazz. That name might send some old schoolers scurrying to their crates of vinyl from the 1970s and early 80s when DAZZ was the way a lot of folks described the fusion of jazz with an R&B sub-genre. The funk band Brick had a very good skater and boppers anthem called “Dazz” (dazz, dazz/disco jazz). Then, there was the 1980s group the DAZZ Band.
The concept may not be new, but FUAZZ is a catchy tag. Besides, Jackson will ultimately be judged by the quality of Stowaway’s content and not the way he brands the material. In that regard, Jackson’s horn blowing certifies him as someone who is able to improvise and play at a variety of tempos and in a variety of styles. The track “Celebration” adopts a mariachi melody and Jackson’s playing has a Latin feel. The tune “A Walk With Miles” finds Jackson employing a mute for good effect – a tool that the great Miles Davis often used to create a certain mood. Davis often used the mute on ballads because the device gave those songs an intimate and pensive feel. And even though “A Walk With Miles” is an up-tempo cut, it seems appropriate given the fact that Davis embrace of jazz-fusion helped to legitimize the music.
Stowaway includes three vocal tracks. The first is the title track, which is an energetic and funky homage to George Clinton. “Bandolero” tells the story of a man on the run from his past while the mid-tempo number “Moment In Seduction” details the potential of a love connection to either be a hook up or a long lasting relationship.
The concept of FUAZZ might not be new, but it clearly represents the reintroduction of a style that many music fans want. Even better, for many it marks the introduction of the talented Mr. Doug Jackson. Recommended.
By Howard Dukes
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