by Jeff Becker
The Clunk Orchestra is a funk jazz group hailing from Australia, they camaraderie and friendships in the band are what make this group of seasoned players click. Their new album The Sound It Makes offers eight instrumental tunes composed by band members past and present, and performed live in the studio, to capture that kinetic energy that only live playing, and interaction can offer. The diversity of the tunes has built-in musical surprises and gritty improvisations: never a dull moment. But essential to the Clunk sound, is the flow of feeling and energy in the music; that’s the sound it makes.
“Andrea Dorian” has a hip shifting groove that plays with the pulse. The funky feel develops through a series of melodies that are accentuated with well-played band hits. This band is certainly a working one, the chemistry is apparent, and the flow of the music is very, very, very nice, oh did I mention very! Spooner’s guitar solo kicks things up a notch as the band continues the relaxed 5/4 groove. Next the guitar and soprano saxophone play an ostinato for Podstawek to solo against. The composition moves and even though the groove is consistent throughout the track, the various sections and melodies continually give the compositions a sense of direction and freshness.
“Never a Dull Moment” starts the album with a funky beat and nice feel changes. Spooner’s exceptionally funky guitar part and hip chord voicings are the subject that Anderson’s melody weaves around for the head. The feel is in the pocket and the rhythm section of Harmsen and Podstawek keep the beat happening. Spooner’s solo is a wonderful fusion guitar extravaganza. His distorted tone is clear and warm, but fuzzy enough to bring home the energy and aggression. With tasty bends and slides, he works his solo to a frenzy over a quasi-funky Latin beat. An interlude with hip band hits is placed between the solos and the baton is handed off to Anderson, who builds his solo with musical joy and energy. The band settles in to a groove and then another interlude before heading back to the head.
This Australian import is a must have, adding funk and fun to your listening palette is just the type of fusioning and adventurer needs. Will this appeal to the traditional jazzer, probably not, but is that really important for every release to fit the mold? Clearly not, as the “Clunk it makes” resonates in its own lane, and its one that is filled with jet fuel.