Anything Is Possible - Five Alarm Funk
Hey kids! Have you heard? Big band music is making a comeback! Just like the cover says, “Anything Is Possible”. Well, it’s not exactly the swing music your great grandpa listened to, before the crooners shuffled it to the background and rock ‘n roll silenced it seemingly for good in the 50s and 60s. And, it’s not the disco wallpaper like The Sounds Of Philadelphia G-pop grooved to in his polyester leisure suit in the 70s. But, today from coast to coast, big instrumental outfits of 10 pieces or more are laying it down big time. Radio programmers must be pulling their hair out! Rarely have instrumental records made their way to the Hit Parade but, hey … anything is possible. Here in Lotusland, Five Alarm Funk has been relentlessly shaking stages and blowing away audiences with their high-octane funkified instrumentals (with the occasional vocal chants from front and centre drummer, Tayo Branston doing his best James Brown). True, they are part of a bigger wave of bands that have rediscovered the potency of Afrobeat, Ethiopian and the aforementioned James Brown funk, but Five Alarm Funk are fearless. Anything Is Possible is an appropriate album title on so many levels. On its 14 tracks, the 12 comrades explore the possibilities of Latin big band music like salsa and merengue, Afrobeat in the best Fela Kuti jazz tradition, pure disco and funky fun stuff and even Balkan brass. If it’s brassy and people dance to it, anywhere in the world, chances are it’s on Five Alarm Funk’s radar and it will become part of their ever-expanding repertoire. Their fans are already crazy for their clowning performances in whack garb with goofy choreography and it seems even the dusty music establishment can’t resist their charms. This year the band is to be congratulated on winning the West Coast Music Award for best instrumental album. Key tracks include Titan, Demons Be Gone, Soft Six and UK-47. Five Alarm Funk are more than possible, they’re inevitable.