Breakestra - Hit The Floor
While their debut album and legendary live shows predominantly paid homage to old school breaks n' beats gone by, Hit The Floor goes a step further as Breakstra create an album featuring all-original compositions and songs. From the call-out party vibe of the break-driven intro track 'Stand Up' to the catchy blues-tinged 'Hiding' and 'Recognize', to the 60's vibe of the title track, 'Hit The Floor' is a more varied and accomplished outing than the debut. For fans of Antibalas, Sharon Jones, Quantic Soul Orchestra. Main man Miles Tackett and company perform regularly to capacity crowds along side such hip-hop luminaries as Jurassic 5, Dilated Peoples, Black Eyed Peas, Freestyle Fellowship, Company Flow, Cut Chemist, Nu-Mark, and DJ Shadow. Ubiquity. 2005.
Led by DJ/bassist Miles Tackett, L.A.'s Breakestra got their start about ten years back replaying famous funk and jazz samples used on hip-hop records. It was an entertaining concert but rather creatively limited. Over time, the band has grown and broadened into a fully fledged funk outfit, composing their own songs and drawing on 30 years of musical tradition to make new creations and fusions, similar to other contemporary groups with that retro soul sound like Sharon Jones or the Poets of Rhythm. James Brown is only the most obvious influence, but you can find everything from Eddie Bo to the Meters to Fela Kuti to George Benson to countless more obscure acolytes of raw soul/funk. The group's vocalist, Mixmaster Wolf, doesn't have as rich a vocal tone or range as, say, a Syl Johnson or Joe Tex, but he definitely has his chops down in riding the group's raucous rhythms. On the hip-hop tip, Jurassic 5's Chali2na joins up on "Family Rap" for a strong rap/funk crossover. It's a very uptempo affair overall: great for the party, though the album could have benefited from including a few more ballads; the closest they come is on one of the best songs, the mid-tempo groover "Recognize." --Oliver Wang