Menahan Street Band: The Crossing (Dunham)

Menahan Street Band: Keep Coming Back
Menahan Street Band: The Crossing (Dunham)

Released late last year so lost between Rod/Buble Christmas carol albums and non-stick reggae vibes, this all-instrumental outing by the house band for Brooklyn's Dunham Records (a subsidiary of Daptone) – who did the honours on Charles Bradley's retro-soul gem No Time for Dreaming in 2011 – is a quietly smoldering outing treading lightly between ensemble jazz, slo-soul and late night moods which steams with humid horns and organ grooves.

This anonymous supergroup – members of the Dap Kings and Antibalas – offers mood pieces which win by stealth and repeat play rather than deliver king hits. Many of these 11 pieces – the desert amble of Three Faces, deft funk and Oriental weirdness on Sleight of Hand, film noir on Bullet for the Bagman, beach-friendly guitars on Driftwood – have a cinematic quality which refers back to the Fifties as much as the streets of today's New York.

In places you can almost hear how a vocalist might ride across the top – notably on the chipping funk and strings of Lights Out and the liquid Everyday a Dream – and some might feel that absence.

But this is a quietly maturing winner for the summer days and nights ahead.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section

Various Artists: Late Night Tales; Friendly Fires (Universal)

Various Artists: Late Night Tales; Friendly Fires (Universal)

The Late Night Tales series of invited-guest's mix-tapes succeeds or fails not just on the compilers' taste, but how they craft a running order of diverse tracks. Some smart invitees –... > Read more

Various Artists: So French So Chic 2013 (Carte!l/Border)

Various Artists: So French So Chic 2013 (Carte!l/Border)

It has been fashionable in hip circles to be instantly dismissive of the annual So Frenchy So Chic double-disc compilations of French pop and sometimes with good reason: they do err to the... > Read more

New Elsewhere

Jackie De Shannon: She Don't Understand Him Like I Do (1964)

Jackie De Shannon: She Don't Understand Him Like I Do (1964)

Jackie De Shannon (born Sharon Lee Myers) had great hits and an even better life: As a teenager in Illinois she recorded and wrote a few songs; Eddie Cochran heard a couple of her country tunes and... > Read more

THE MOVE: ALWAYS AND FOREVER; BELATEDLY (2015): Classic pop, great rock then forgot

THE MOVE: ALWAYS AND FOREVER; BELATEDLY (2015): Classic pop, great rock then forgot

Anyone dumb enough to rely on an encyclopedia of rock or -- worse -- that self-described disgrace which is "Classic Hits" radio, would be forgiven for not knowing that the Move ever... > Read more