Rich Mendleson's follow-up to the original (and very successful) Freaky Jazzy Funky comprises some 30 construction kits. Using Sonic Foundry's Acid Pro 4, I tested the WAV files, of which there were nearly 500 totalling over 850MB. Usefully, both tempo and key are specified in the folder name for each kit. In addition, each construction kit contains between one and three short 'pre-mixed' WAV files that demonstrate how the individual loops (between 10 and 20 per kit) can be combined.
As well as the usual drum and percussion loops, most of the kits feature some funky bass and electric guitar - with plenty of classic wah-wah loops within the latter. There are also a good stock of keyboard loops, including piano, Rhodes, organ, and various synth sounds. While the bass certainly provides the funk, the jazz tends to come from the brass. There are some excellent trumpet and trombone loops, and these seem both well played and recorded. Many of these are short lead lines or solos, which run for several bars. They are presented here with reverb already applied and the sound is very much 'instant jazz club'.
The majority of the original tempos are under 120bpm, and the mood is therefore pretty laid-back in some of the kits. Within the overall jazz/funk theme, there is a little variety. For example, some kits contain a distinctly Latin flavour (the percussion often sets the tone here), while others have rather a '70s retro feel and would not have felt out of place as part of the soundtrack to the original Starsky & Hutch TV series (particularly with the wah-wah guitar)! I could also imagine the more contemporary kits sitting in Sex And The City or (minus the horn lead lines) as a backing for a downtempo R&B 'lurve' tune sung by someone like Janet Jackson.
Mixing loops both within and between the various construction kits was easy enough, although the files had not been Acid ised so I had to set the root note for each pitched loop in order for Acid to do it's pitch-shifting magic. This minor inconvenience aside, the relatively consistent feel across the collection made it simple to work with. The only other downside is for those working in library/production music, as the license terms do not allow the loops to be used in that context. Otherwise, while there is perhaps nothing really new here in terms of the musical territory covered, the playing, recording, and attitude are spot on. If cool funk with jazzy overtones is your thing, then Freaky Jazzy Funky 2 has plenty to offer. John Walden