The Funky Knuckles & Mark Lettieri Trio touch down in Manchester today, playing at Band on the Wall tonight before heading to Birmingham, London and Brighton. Ahead of the show, we caught up with The Funky Knuckles to see what music they’re all listening to, and it’s no surprise that it’s an incredibly eclectic mix.
Ben Bohorquez (Saxophone)
“As far as the music that I’m checking out, it’s always a big range. One of my favourite saxophone players has always been John Ellis. I really like his Doublewide and earlier stuff. Last night we played with a band that was somewhere between John Ellis, Moonchild, Snarky Puppy, and Sidewalk Chalk. Their name is Huntertones. They played an amazing set and I am now a big fan. Their album is in my car and will be on the short rotation list.
We are fortunate to be a part of the GroundUP family. I am a huge fan of every single artist on the label, and everybody seems to be putting out a record. Lately I’ve been checking out the latest releases from Bill Laurence and Cory Henry.
Currently playing, is Hideaway by Jacob Collier. I just discovered it yesterday and it was kind of mind blowing. It has dozens of layers of rhythms in the percussion, guitars, and vocals throughout the piece that creates an disturbing, yet soothing, feeling that I have never heard before. At its core are some Brazilian rhythms, but he’s taken all of his influences and turned it into his own thing. Plus, the YouTube video is freaking awesome.”
Wes Stepheson (Bass)
“King Heroin by James Brown. The song is a simple blues type of groove. I was on a gig with RC Williams and the Gritz when he started playing the bass line to King Heroin. It made a huge impression on me before I actually heard the song. After the gig I went and actually listened to the original recording. Man…The grove, message, and overall vibe of the song is too deep.”
Caleb McCampbell (Keys)
“Currently, I’m listening to Mint Condition’s album “Life’s Aquarium.” This album has a nostalgic connection with me because I remember my older brother Charles used playing it all the time when I was in high school. The band is composed of such an amazing group of musicians and singers, and I love the diversity of sound displayed. They go from hard-hitting, up-tempo, r&b grooves, to light rock/funk infused jams, to Latin/Hip Hop infused organic beats. I love every second of the entire record. Lead singer Stokely Williams is undeniably an unstoppable force in music. He hops from voice, to guitar, to drums, to steel pan, to keys, to almost anything you can name! The music is vibrating with soul, funk, jazz, hip hop, r&b, rock, and many other elements, and to me that’s a perfect example of the influences on the sound of The Funky Knuckles!”
Evan Weiss (Trumpet)
“Last night, I was re-listen listening to “It’s All Around You” by Tortoise. This album has such beautiful textures and orchestrations that flow seamlessly from song to song. The production makes the whole album sound like a single composition. Also, this record reminds me of when I first moved up to New York. I was listening to the album on our drive up from Texas, so it really brings me back to that time.
As Ben was also saying, we also really fortunate to be part of a great crew of touring and recording artists from GroundUP and Ropeadope. These days, probably more than half of my listening, is music written and produced by my dear friends. And that’s something really special!”
Phill Aelony (Guitar)
“I have mostly been listening to Kurt Rosenwinkel records lately. Especially the album Heartcore. Rosenwinkel has incredible depth harmonically as well as rhythmically. Also his compositions have a good balance of complexity and strong melodies. His music always inspires me to play more thoughtfully and think about phrasing and melodies rather than just playing a lot of fast notes.”