The New York City-based Horne Electric Band brings jazz fusion to a heightened level, merging all the great sounds from ‘60s’ and ‘70s classic soul and jazz with a contemporary touch that gives it an infectiously funky feel. It’s a relatively new band formed in 2017, having toured the northeast and internationally. They integrate current electronics soundscapes with horn section centric arrangements.
The band is a collaborative outgrowth of vibraphonist Tyler Blanton’s work on the mallekat and synthesizsers, with bassist/producer Massimo Biolcati and drummer Corey Rawls anchoring the rhythm section. The horns consist of Wayne Tucker (trumpet) , Yacine Boulares (tenor saxophone), as well as the Snarky Puppy horn team of Mike Maher (trumpet) and Chris Bullock (tenor saxophone. The band enlisted some high profile guests for this debut including by saxophonists Chris Potter (“In That Order”), John Ellis (“Stixx Lixx”), and Donny McCaslin (“Babysmacker”), as well as guitarists Lionel Loueke (“Cunning Linguist’)and John Scofield (“Freedom Fried”).
The album has 10 tracks, clocking in at just under 50 minutes, marked by a sense of humor, fun and spontaneity in the playing, most of which features tight arrangements, spirited interplay and relatively economical solos except where the guests assume the spotlight. Notably, the band has no keyboard players per se as leader Blanton primarily contributes vibes, excepting the synthesizer-driven tunes. So, unlike many bands in this kind of genre, the funk is driven mostly from the horns and the rhythm section. Gleaning the titles, the sense of humor is fully evident in titles like “I’ll Put Pants On,” “Magnum Stash,” “Dudes in Flannels” and “Stixx Lixx.” The opening “I’ll Put My Pants” sets the groove with a spoken hip introduction followed by solos from Maher, Bullock, and Blanton on vibes. “Freedom Fried” is an ensemble piece with Scofield taking the lead midpiece.
”He Fixes the Cable” is a brisk, relatively complex rhythm piece with some vocals, vibes, bass, trumpet and sax solos with tight ensemble work by all, especially Boulares and Tucker. Similarly “Magnum’s Stash,” is a core band piece, a bit slower and funkier through wah-wah effects. “In That Order” begins with Blanton creating the melody on synthesizer before the full band joins, yielding then to a conversation between Blanton’s synth and Potter’s sax. “Cunning Linguist” is mostly a dialogue between Blanton’s synth and Loueke’s guitar and its various effects to create a rather classic fusion groove. “Dudes in Flannels” is another core band piece with a filthy funky bass line, percolating beats, synth from Blanton and horns from Boulares and Tucker.
”Stixx Lixx,” the longest piece at six and half minutes, features considerable malletkat and vibraphone from Blanton before Ellis enters with his expressive tenor solo, as the other horns harmonize. “Babysmacker,” the single, begins with a funky bassline and ensemble work before McCaslin enters with a rapid-fire tenor solo. The closer, “The Wah Wah” song is perhaps self-explanatory, but notably the bass really reverberates on this one while the melody is one of the smoothest in the set.
Call it modern fusion or horn-driven funk, it will get your blood moving and feet tapping. The most salient aspect of the Horne Electric Band though is the remarkably closely knit, tight ensemble work.