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Freaky Jazzy Funky 2 | Keyboard Magazine

Reviewer: Francis Preve Back to Freaky Jazzy Funky 2 product details

The guitar, bass, and keyboard parts in this collection are jazzy and smooth, with locked-in wah-wah riffs complemented by tight and funky bass grooves. The Rhodes, Wurly, and B-3 bits are played with style and sass. Even though the keyboard resources are sample-based, seasoned playing keeps the vibe real, with well-placed grace notes and added 9ths and 13ths here and there. Unfortunately, a few acoustic piano riffs - while also nicely played - suffer from that "16MB factory piano" sound, diminishing their vibe potential.

Strong musicianship creates the perfect backdrop for some truly wonderful and inspired trombone and trumpet riffing, which is one of the highlights of this collection. Nearly every track includes a sweet horn part, often enhanced by lovely and soulful female vocals, provided by Courtney Harrall. Courtney's voice adds depth to several of the construction kits, even when she's just going "uh-huh."

Now for the buzzkill: The drums are just not that inspiring. Most, if not all, are drum machine-based (the liner notes indicate that an MPC2000 is the source of the beats). In other collections, this approach works beautifully when paired with sliced and diced acoustic or vinyl beats, but here, the programming is a bit too vanilla compared with the rest of the production, which is very nice.

Of course, it's not like every drum loop is a clunker. There are definitely a few tasty loops in several of the construction kits, but overall the beats are lackluster. But if you have other downtempo collections, you can just replace these drums with better samples, which is always an option when working with soundware. "I wasn't nearly as disappointed with the beats as Francis was," second-listener Ken Hughes disagreed. "I rather like their bread-and-butter quality, as they don't impose themselves on what's supposed to be my music."

The overall production and engineering here is solid. It's dry, round, and warm - kind of analog-ish, but still very clean. Those looking for trippy processing should look elsewhere, but if you want slinky instrumentation that will sit nicely in a wide variety of production styles and still leave room for you to add your own effects, this is a good collection. FRANCIS PREVE

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