Theryl DeClouet - vocals; Ben Ellman - baritone, tenor saxophone; Jason Mingledorff - alto, tenor saxophone; Robert Mercurio - bass, vocals; Stanton Moore-drums, loops; Richard Vogel - keyboards; Jeff Raines - guitar; Guest: Drew Emmitt - guitar
Galactic, from the planet New Orleans, has kept the groove on the one ever since their inception in 1994. Vocalists may come and go, but the thing that remains consistent in Galactic's world is the funk: Whether it's jazz- or rock-inspired, they just keep on doing it deeper and funkier and in the spirit of the Crescent City sound that inspires them. This set from 1998 recorded at the annual Mountain Aire Festival in Northern California showcases Galactic's special brand of Louisiana magic, from retro soul to free jazz. Promoting their then brand-new Crazyhorse Mongoose album that ultimately found a space on the Billboard jazz charts, the also pull repertoire from their debut, Coolin' Off. Throughout, Galactic are in fine, funky form during this afternoon throwdown.
Guitarist Jeff Raines and bassist Robert Mercurio, two childhood friends from DC, made the move to music city New Orleans as college students. They were inspired by the city's rich musical and culture heritage and specifically the sounds of its legendary artists in a particular groove: The Meters, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and of course the great Professor Longhair whose spirit resides over the city's music scene and its central venue, Tipitina's. Eventually, the line-up solidified to include drummer Stanton Moore, Hammond organist Rich Vogel, and saxman Ben Ellman and so it has remained with a half dozen albums to follow. But back in the day, they also featured a vocalist, Theryl DeClouet.
For this brief afternoon Mountain Aire set, Galactic warm themselves up as the core group jam it on down on a few instrumentals including the slip, slide and glide groove, "Church." When vocalist DeClouet joins them onstage, they stretch out for the keyboard intensive "Love on the Run," then ease on into "Start From Scratch," with its laidback and funkified attack. Dedicated to anyone who's been down on their luck and had to put the pieces back together, Galactic dig down into the super-groove-based hard times jam, "Something's Wrong With This Picture." "Hamp's Hump," pumps up the funereal tempo of the studio recording and turns it into a more festive affair. And as they deliver a taste of New Orleans with a little "Black-Eyed Pea," Galactic wrap it up tight with more slinky grooves and funk riffing. Taking it from soul high to funk down low, Galactic deliver the goods on interstellar overdrive. Laissez les bon temps rouler!