Soul-Funk Punch at Alley Katz 

Simply put, Sharon Jones and her insanely tight, versatile band, The Dap-Kings, are as good as music gets. They play a gospel-infused 1960s brand of soul funk that physically can't be denied. Led by bass player, Bosco "Bass" Mann, the eight-piece Dap-Kings solidify the history of great American groove from early Hugh Masekela to James Brown with a bold, musical tenacity that proves that this New York-based group isn't content to sit on the shoulders of giants. No, it stands proudly on those shoulders, with muscular, round rhythms that are taut yet malleable, sparse yet ready to be applied as the mood strikes them.

And all of this musicality is put to good use by the star of the show, Ms. Sharon Jones, the Coretta Scott King of soul. Whether relaying the history of African-Americans or belittling an undeserving lover, she is without equal in getting to the raw, sweaty truth of the matter. She makes the room fall in love with her. Her standout performance on the impossibly funky rendition of the Woody Guthrie classic "This Land Is Your Land" sent chills up my spine as she strutted, danced and soothed with a voice that the religious among us would refer to as heaven-sent. She is that rare performer who makes you genuinely feel good to be alive.

After a bleak month of candle-light vigils, Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings were exactly what I needed: a night of soul-enriching joy.

For those who missed the show, the band recently released a second album, "Naturally."


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