Disaster Relief isn’t just your ordinary funk band: they are the blues brothers and sisters of Detroit soul jazz and afro-beat, and once you give their newly released self-titled album Disaster Relief a listen, you’ll feel like you’ve been catapulted into that episode of Ski Party where James Brown turned out for a room of cabin kids in a honky 60s Christmas sweater, except less gimmicky.
This 9-track project was produced by guitarist, composer, and Ravine Records of Ann Harbor founder Darrin James over a two-year period of recorded studio sessions. Stealing creatively from the Meters’ New Orleans syncopation and Fela Kuti’s afro beat, Disaster Relief’s release comes at an opportune time in America: caught in the eye of the storm, listeners are able to unwind briefly in the forceful and succinct baritone sax playing in “Downtown F#@ckaround” and the hard rock edge on “Dorian DeLorian.”
“Transplant” takes listeners for a ride down to Hitsville USA in a souped-up Ford mustang while breezing past famous landmarks in Detroit’s Motor City. There’s a song for every month, every season on the album. “August Addiction” for instance, is a burning fantasia for easy living, and similarly, “October, Who’s Sober?” erases all tragedy from our minds and replaces it with a live four-piece horn section of reeling funk meant to be enjoyed in the presence of friends.
The album is great simply for rewiring brains and clearing room for more positive thoughts. At this moment in time and space, we need those more than anything right now. Give Disaster Relief a listen: