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October 19th, 2011 ROBERT HAM | Album Reviews
 

Album Review: Tony Ozier

BeatsGalore Vol. 1 (Self-Released)

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[READY TO FLOW] Tony Ozier, the de facto leader of the musical collective known as the Doo Doo Funk All-Stars, has already proven his multi-instrumental and songwriting mettle in the group’s regular jam sessions (known as Dookie Jams) and its album Keep the Funk Alive. To these ears, an all-instrumental mixtape cooked up by Ozier and his many compadres just seems like the next logical step in a steady progression toward sanctified glory.

The spirit of this collection is as loose and spirited as the Doo-Doo Funk All Stars’ “Dookie Jams,” but honed to a fine point. There are no wasted notes here or discursive solos. These songs are fuss-free bumpers ready to slip into a DJ mix or find an MC ready to take them on. 

Without the frills, Ozier’s influences are allowed to fully float to the surface of this set. He evokes the spirit of Bernie Worrell and his peerless work as keyboardist for Funkadelic on the appropriately titled “The Nastyness” and on the straightforward, driving “The Funk.” With “Cutty Nashty,” Ozier dips into a fractured groove—almost dubstep, really—punctuated by samples of a gun being cocked and fired. 

What sustains this disc is a strong emotional core. Not only as expressed by the loving and often-goofy spoken-word interludes by some of Ozier’s admirers and collaborators (the Pharcyde’s SLIMKID3 and frequent Doo Doo Funk collaborator Yolanda Johnson among them), but through tracks written in honor of friends and family. Chief of these is “B,” a tribute to the late Barry Hampton, a guitarist with the All-Stars and longtime Portland player. Ozier doesn’t wallow in the loss, but elevates the joyous spirit of his friend through a stinging guitar line and a shuffling rhythm—the aforementioned heartfelt core is surrounded by a glitzy, mirrorballed shell meant to be hung from the rafters and illuminate the writhing bodies below. Beats Galore, indeed.


SEE IT: Tony Ozier’s Doo Doo Funk All-Stars play Refuge PDX on Friday, Oct. 21, with Blackalicious and Freestyle Fellowship. 9 pm. $20. 21+. BeatsGalore Vol. 1 is out now. 

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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