But what bandleader, writer, and singer John Gros manages to accomplish is to integrate looser jam-band elements into the primal New Orleans mix of R&B, jazz, and blues without upsetting the tightly wound, often repetitive rhythms and vamps that make this style distinctive. Itâ€™s a feat no other pretender to the crown has achieved, and one that makes the self-released Doinâ€™ It. (available at www.papagrowsfunk.com) not just funky, but fresh. -Boston Globe
The intangibles that make a band more than the sum of its parts are not developed overnight. Years of woodshedding are usually required.
On rare occasions, this processed is bypassed, and the connection is immediate. So it was with Los Hombres Calientes, the local Afro-Cuban jazz band that was wowing audiences from their very first gig. Like Los Hombres Calientes, Papa Grows Funk is stocked with veteran local players. Keyboardist John Gros is an alumnus of MuleBone and one of George Porter Jr.â€™s Runninâ€™ Pardners. Drummer Russell Batiste powers the funky Meters. June Yamagishi is a valued member of the Wild Magnolias tribe. Bassists Marc Pero and Peter V have traded licks with various bands as has saxophonist Jason Mingledorff.
Thrown together for a Monday night residency at the Old Point Bar, they quickly found their way. And so it is that next week Papa Grows Funk celebrates both its one year anniversary and release of its debut CD, Doinâ€™ It, as informed a primer on Big Easy funk as this city has produced in years.
The influence of the playersâ€™ associations are apparent. Grosâ€™ singsong organ on â€œPass Itâ€ and â€œDimplesâ€ recalls Art Nevilleâ€™s Meters riff circa â€™69. â€œJunker Manâ€ could have been lifted from the Runninâ€™ Pardners songbook and thereâ€™s a bit of Dr. John hoodoo sprinkled over â€œWhoâ€™s Knockin at Your Door.â€
But Papa Gros and company have embraced these sounds as their own. Throughout 10 full-length tracks and four brief interludes- most of them instrumental, all of them written by the band and produced by Tracey Freeman- they take their time, lay back and let the collective groove guide them. Experience begat their patience, and their patience pays off in spades. - New Orleans Times Picayune
Check out the artist's website:
1. Pass It!
2. In the Weeds
3. Junker Man
7. Ridin' Thru the Mountains
9. I Got the Blues Over You
10. Mardi Gator
12. Fire in the Garage
13. Who's Knockin at Your Door?
14. Doin' It