Rating: Ashley Slater, sometime frontman of Norman Cook’s pre-Fatboy acid jazz funkers Freak Power, ex-member of Loose Tubes, Microgroove and BigLounge and (despite the X-Factor’s best efforts) currently one half of Kitten & The Hip is, lest we forget (or unless you didn’t know in the first place) an accomplished trombonist. Look – there’s one right there in that Top Of The Pops footage of Turn On, Tune In Cop Out sported by Slater in floor-length pink fur coat. But why do you care? Well, it just so happens that ‘Trombone Ashley’ as he shall henceforth be known, has a new LP out – Bone Idol Vol. 1 which Slater describes has having given him a chance to “run naked through the fields of…[his]…own imagination.” If you’re concerned that this might have borne fruit in the shape of some sort of jazz noodle vanity project though, think again, sucker.
Proof that there’s life in the old dog yet comes in the shape of of 12 cuts ranging from gospel-tinged electro-swing, latin boogaloo, pounding car-chase funk, Balkan stomp, rocksteady, cumbia and a thoughtful, beatless ‘mood-piece’ by way of a closer. And while the ‘bone might lead, it never overwhelms. Overall the biggest stylistic nods are to 60s and 70s library music and black music generally of the 60s and 70s while Slater’s pop pedigree is well in evidence in the arrangements, the hooks, dj-friendly beats and the odd vocal and electronica motifs. Well, if you will hang around with Fatboy Slim… Doubters head straight for the Amen-based b-boy breaks future classic Eddie’s Trousers below but after you’ve been put straight, give the whole thing a proper listen from start to finish.
(Out now HERE)