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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove

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Funked Up & Chilled Out

Heads Up HUCD 3152E



  1. First in Line
  2. My Funk
  3. Step Up
  4. Don't Go
  5. CD 101.9
  6. Be Cool
  7. Cruise Control
  8. Finger Poppin'
  9. True and Tender
  10. On and On
  11. Roppongi Panic
  12. N.J. Turnpike
  1. Bliss 2 This
  2. Still I Love You
  3. Anything You Need
  4. Smoogroove
  5. Ambiente
  6. In Deep
  7. Tambores
  8. Supernatural
  9. Oda al Vino
  10. Sunrise
Candy Dulfer - Alto sax, vocals
Chance Howard - Bass, keyboards, programming, vocals
Kirk A. Johnson - Drums, programming, keyboards, shaker
Thomas Bank - Keyboards, programming
Jan Van Duikeren - Trumpet
Frank Stukker, Ulco Bed - Guitars
Manuel Hugas - Bass
Moon Baker - Vocals (track I/1)
Pete Philly - Rap, vocals (track I/2)
Russ Davis - Radio voice (track I/6)
Joseph Bowie - Rap (track II/1)
Louk Boudesteijn - Trombone (tracks I/1, 6-9)
Guido Nijs - Tenor sax (tracks I/1, 6-9)

Dutch saxophonist Candy Dulfer might be described as a female Kenny G - or, if you feel very kind, a female David Sanborn. As with those male counterparts, she plays sweet alto sax which can be an alluring sound. Unfortunately, its allure is camouflaged on this double album, mainly by the heavy arrangements which include that dreaded word "programming". The predominance of the "backing" is unavoidable from the very first track, to which Candy contributes only a few short phrases while the funky accompaniment takes centre stage. Even when Candy takes a solo chorus, she is almost swamped by the thumping bass guitar, assertive brass and chanting background vocals.

My Funk adds an incomprehensible rapper to confuse things further. Step Up is slightly different, because it adds a kind of ska rhythm, but the main protagonists seem to be a female vocal group rather than the supposed star. Dulfer eventually squeezes herself into the morass of voices, handclaps and synthesized beats. Don't Go is a more straightforward instrumental where the similarity to Kenny G is very marked. Unlike many critics, I quite like Kenny G's smooth tone but Candy Dulfer seldom rises above the Kenny G waterline. And so the first CD continues, apparently aimed at dancers rather than listeners, with very little jazz content. The only remaining touch of variety on this CD is the reggae beat of True and Tender.

Perhaps the second CD, with its "Chilled Out" title, might be better? The sound is less cluttered but there are still too many things getting in the way of Dulfer's alto sax. There are inconsequential voices on Bliss 2 This, synthesizers making outer-space sounds on Anything You Need, and the obligatory handclaps and heavy bass rhythm on Oda al Vino. Still I Love You has an attractive melody but most of the other tracks are just sax doodling over a busy background. Sure, Candy Dulfer will probably have a broad appeal, with her seductive looks and flowing blonde hair, but there is little merit in the actual music.

What of Dulfer was left, I wonder, when the thudding had to stop?

Tony Augarde 

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