Funk Shui NYC melds influences and makes something new


Funk Shui NYC is a large, sassy, lively, quirky New York City-based ensemble. Their music blends rock, jazz, and film influenced songs. Funk Shui is led by Dave Morgan and Rob Susman. The group’s sound is so big and bold and fun, that it is impossible not to have a good time while listening to it. Classics are taken to new levels, and classic here can refer to rock or jazz songs. Selections that should not be missed on “Shark NATO on a Plane,” Funk Shui’s latest recording are “Summertime” and “I Feel Free.”

“Summertime” by Funk Shui NYC

The Gershwin classic has been brought to life in different genres. Singers such as Ella Fitzgerald and Mahalia Jackson have lent their iconic vocals to the tune. Here, the song gets a bold, Latin-influenced remake that removes the imagined setting of the American South and replaces it with the hustle and bustle of New York City from mid-century to the present. Bold horns and dynamics that would keep dancers moving characterize Funk Shui’s version of the classic song. The tempo has been picked up, and that adds to the feel of it as NYC’s unofficial soundtrack. A song that must be heard to be appreciated.

“I Feel Free” by Funk Shui NYC

A remake of the Cream classic. The song has been done in honor of the late, great Ginger Baker. A lot of the elements of the original are there. The rock ‘n’ roll opening is as dynamic as a listener might imagine. Rock ‘n’ roll blends with jazz as some horns maintain the chorus’ motif, and the others play jazzy variations. There is a red hot verve that runs through the song. As the saxophones do a deep-toned showcase, audiences await the return of the full ensemble. The resulting sound does not disappoint. Like other songs on the recording, there is movement and high-powered sound. The group has even kept the handclap feature of the original, even as horns blare in rhythmic triumph all around. None of the sounds drowns out the others.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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