The Funk Ark has a big percussion sound with horns in all the right places.
...by the Funk Ark
Don’t let the name the Funk Ark fool you. Taken together, the words funk and ark imply some kind of salvage of the old-school (James Brown, P-Funk, Maceo Parker). Not the case. The Funk Ark is all about the musical influences that motivated ’60s funk, namely the Afro-Cuban rhythms and changes that are considered to be the mothership. To call it Afrobeat borders on cliché, but so be it. The Funk Ark is jazzier, as if Chick Corea’s homework was to make up some horn-driven soul fusion. But the dance vibe is stronger with the eight Ark members.
It’s a big percussion sound with horns in all the right places, chicken-scratching guitar comps, a loping bass line, weird sonic keyboards, and all of it in odd meters, minus vocals. The Funk Ark is an instrumental experience. Now touring behind their latest full-length, Man Is a Monster, the band is in truth one of many projects juggled concurrently by a D.C. straight-ahead jazz pianist named Will Rast.
- Sunday, April 24, 2016, 8 p.m.
3615 El Cajon Boulevard,
Rast is the Ark’s main songwriter. The backstory is that while he was studying jazz theory in Manhattan, Rast chanced to hear the funky Afrobeat group Antibalas, and that was a game-changer; he would eventually become a member. Otherwise known as a first-call sideman for artists such as Mya and Federico Aubele, Thievery Corporation broke Rast out to larger pop audiences when they started using him as well. In spite of his success, Rast claims no music-industry love; he once told a reporter that money was ruining music, that the whole experience was designed to part one from one’s money — even though by the end of a day he, too, has to count tickets and CDs sold. I suppose he makes up for it with the worth of his product: Rast brings a world-class band to the small stage, and he makes it cook.