New Orleans Juice

If you took the Big Easy in your hands and squeezed it into a cup, it would sound a lot like New Orleans Juice. There's a cup of funk, a couple of tablespoons of jazz, and a teaspoon or two of blues. But with NOJ, there's an outreach to the world at large. Bass player Dave Jordan's intent was to wed George Porter-Zigaboo Modeliste grooves to Jerry Garcia jams. Usually one half of that equation is unbalanced, and on CD at least, it's the jam half. On songs like their nine-minute funk opus "The Forbidden Donut," off the 1999 release Fortified, Jordan, drummer Chris DeJohn and Dave Reis on electric piano lay down a choogling superfly brew on top of which bobs a trombone and Jamie Galloway's hornlike harmonica. There's nary a Phish lick in that funky sea. "Whistle While You Work," on the other hand, finds the band more in keeping with its stated intention of being a Big Easy funk jam band. Earlier this year, Offbeat magazine dubbed NOJ Louisiana's Best Emerging Funk/ Soul/R&B band of 2000, no small feat in a state chock-full of such combos. Be advised: When the New Orleans Juice is flowing, best wade through with your dancing shoes.

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