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Brotherly Love

Staff Reports

Debate no more, the sum of the parts definitely adds up to more than the whole. It’s been proven by one of New Orleans most successful funk families, the Neville Brothers.The four powerfully unique personalities, have all done their own thing through the years but seem to thrive best on the explosive fusion of diversity and unity they have when they hit the stage as a family.Aaron (vocals), Art (keys), Charles (sax), and Cyril (percussion and vocals) turn up the New Orleans-fueled funk, 7:30 p.m., Thursday, July 11 at the Vilar Center.Varied forms of funk music may be brought to the valley by bands as varied as Galactic, Jive and the Wild Magnolias but the Neville Brothers boast some of the deepest and probably most true-to-form funk roots coming to town.A quick look at the oldest brother’s Art’s musical path, shows the rich New Orleans tradition listeners can enjoy on Thursday. As the oldest, Art was the first to make his mark.Back in the 50s, at the very birth of the R&B/rock era, he pioneered the new sound with seminal hits like “Mardi Gras Mambo,” “cha Dooky-Do” and “All These Things.”As founding father and mastermind of the Meters the classic soul syncopators of the 60s and 70s he earned the title Poppa Funk. Today he remains among the most revered keyboardists and vocalists on the contemporary scene.Then there’s brother Charles who says that after 30 plus years in the business the four brothers manage to keep the funk “fresh and varied while still rooted in New Orleans tradition.”That’s probably because the four brothers have similar as well as varied musical tastes. Charles digs blues, gospel R & B, while Aaron grew up around gospel and doo-wop, Art leaned more towards straight-funk, rock ‘n roll and jazz, while Cyril, the youngest brother, grew up in the ’60s heyday of funk, soul, African and Caribbean.Besides a great musical synergy the Neville Brother’s, according to Charles, are playing from more than 40 years of New Orleans funk tradition.The music has always come from within, Charles says. “We never did this just to make money,” he says. “This started for all of us because it’s something we could do to express how we feel from our hearts and spirits. We’re still doing that today and I think the audience can really see we are playing how we feel now our music is really a frank, truthful look at us.”Charles was playing the infectious sound now called funk, as early as the ’50s when the tune “Land of 1,000 Dances,” was being pumped out on the Big Easy bar scene.”That was one of the funkiest things ever,” Neville says. “The younger bands are still doing that song today.” He says back then they were just beginning to call, what the Nevilles now call funk, rock ‘n roll.The music throughout the 60s went through a few name changes. It was called rhythm and blues, rock ‘n roll and even jazz. But, “it doesn’t matter what you call it to me,” Neville says. That addictive funky sound had only one rule he says, “It was the music that made you want to dance.”Help get the Vilar Center funky, 7:30 p.m., Thursday July 11 with the Neville Brothers. Call 845-TIXS for info and tickets.


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