The organ has long played a central role in funk music, providing subtle melodies over the syncopated basslines and extended chords typical of the genre. The tones of the Hammond B3, perfected by artists like Jimmy McGriff and Booker T., remain a shining example of how the instrument should sound at the fingertips of a true master.
Jon Wirtz of Space Orphan is a worthy claimaint to this title. His keyboard work is reminiscent of the soul-inspired heyday of bands like the MGs, with the complexity of jazz and bebop greats like Jimmy Smith thrown in for good measure.
It's not just Wirtz that impresses, though. Guitarist Taylor Scott, drummer Eric Imbrosciano, and bassist Todd Edmunds take their turns laying down the rhythm, while the horn section adds to the richness of the punctuated melodies. Even DJ Check One gets a chance to shine with his deft turntable work.
Their debut album, Shut Up About The Sun (2016), is a unique fusion the band has coined "progressive old school." It showcases the group's immense command of their instruments while simultaneously laying bare their heavy funk/soul roots, and even made 2016s list of the 20 Best Funk Albums.