George’s musical dexterity comes through more than ever in his current solo project, Fried Plantains, which fuses the worlds of jazz, hip-hop, blues and rock. For this record, he brought together his Black Eyed Peas band with some of the funkiest players in jazz, including Mike Clark (Herbie Hancock/Headhunters), Fred Wesley (James Brown) and Robert Walter (Greyboy All-Stars).
Pajon has been on tour with Black Eyed Peas, opening for Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera. He will also co-host MTV’s Hip-Hop Show, airing in late summer.
The new disc opens with a funk-driven groove, Sunday Best, which includes a cool trombone highlight, a dazzling organ and an awesome bass line. That’s followed by the wacky, light-hearted Chipp’d Toof. George’s let-it-all-hang-out guitar lead, accented by a terrific tenor sax solo.
Next up is a deep, rock-blues-jazz hybrid, Smoke and Mirrors, one of the coolest tunes on the disc. That’s followed by the spacey UHF, a high-tech ride on a musical rocket.
Things calm down a bit with Latin Vibe, a breezy, Santana-esque groove. Pajon is in his own world on this one, creating a colorful masterpiece while the ensemble provides an engaging backdrop.
The horns and keys take center stage on Horndoggin’ (Sloppy Seconds) , another funky groove that features a slick bass line. Rings is kind of a throwback to the electric-driven fusion of the 1970s, with a slight nod to Herbie Hancock. This theme continues with Bigg Fizz.
Pajon and Co. then go electronica with The 3D Hustle, a disco-jazz beat supported by the horns. The group then spreads a little Mustard before closing out the disc with the 10-minute Childhood, a mellow trip down memory lane that concludes with an extended drum solo.
Together with his supporting cast and some clever mixes, George Pajon Jr. takes the listener on an exciting trip that fuses the unbridled joy of 1970s funk with a contemporary hip-hop edge.