Ray Anderson and Lapis Lazuli Band: Funkorific

This seeks to be a good-time record while maintaining the musical intelligence that listeners should expect from Anderson. “Putting the cookies on a lower shelf” can be dangerous if the artists are too busy worrying about public taste to do any real cooking, but it’s obvious from the start that the players (Amina Claudine Myers, organ, piano; Jerome Harris, guitar; Lonnie Plaxico, bass; Tommy Campbell, drums) are having a blast themselves. I can’t imagine any complaints about anyone’s contributions instrumentally. The rhythm team swings, Anderson sounds just great, Myers and Harris shine throughout, and the trombone-organ-guitar ensembles are downright dangerous. The four vocal tracks feature Myers and Anderson solo and in tandem: gutsy, extroverted performances of intelligent lyrics by Jackie Raven. This music is hard to describe but it’s natural and infectious, somewhat comparable to Mose Allison, but hotter. The professed intention is to make the listener smile, and it sure works for me.