Remember Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters? Here’s the group's illustrious bassist with his second solo CD. His profile boasts of early positive feedback from reviewers all over. I’m not ready to call Jackson the "baddest bass player on this planet," as his promo shouts, but he’s certainly able to pull his own weight in the ever-expanding field of powerful, assertive bassists in this genre (which, by the way, he takes in a couple of different directions).
The title cut is the hot-funky piece that clearly sets the album's feel. It’s followed by a cool, jazzy funk number "Hey Lou," with vocals by Tony Adamo. The tune paints a clear image of a concerned buddy of "Lou," trying to motivate the man to get off the corner, leave that bottle of wine alone, be cool, and get it together. The piece is genuinely innovative and inspiring. "Funky Fingers," in addition to the signature funk, adds an intriguing time signature as well as some really colorful language to inquire about some woman’s identity (hmm.... ).
As I mentioned earlier, the album goes in a couple of different directions. I've classified it as soul/funk jazz, but acid jazz and fusion fans alike should also find this enjoyable. Yes, it might be perceived, at times, as walking a fine line, often resembling the style of Parliament-Funkadelic icon George Clinton, but it never falls short on its implied promise to deliver. From very raw, hard-edged, and gritty funk ("Everything You Got" is another example of this uncontrolled funk) to classic Hancock-style fusion (listen to "Hawk" and "All A Groove"), it packs a considerable wallop and often includes some very tasteful vocals and harmonies.
"Pop It" and the closing "part 2" of the title cut are, quite simply, the sort of commanding funky party tunes on which you just don’t sit down (the latter cut also provides a parting, blistering guitar solo that's most impressive, to say the least).
Jackson proves on this, his second effort, that his bass is a definite force here to stay. Without a doubt, Funk On A Stick has solid presence. You’ve gotta love that. I certainly do.