From the 19th century African music gatherings in Congo Square to the birth of jazz and its offshoots, New Orleans is one of America's most important music cities, and with the Rough Guide to the Music of New Orleans collection, listeners get a well-rounded taste of the Crescent City's musical gumbo. The collection touches on traditional jazz torchbearers (Dr. Michael White), classic R&B (Jessie Hill, Earl King), down-home funk (the Meters), Mardi Gras-ready brass players (Kermit Ruffins, Hot 8 Brass Band), global-influenced groovers (Los Hombres Calientes), and artists on the rise (Papa Grows Funk). While it's impossible to capture the full spectrum of New Orleans music on a single disc – women artists are underrepresented, and the NOLA hip-hop scene that's emerged since the 1990s is skipped entirely – this Rough Guide is a spirited introduction, and as a bonus is accompanied by a second disc featuring emerging heavy funk purveyors Dumpstaphunk.
A mixture of mostly R&B and soft jazz combined with a taste of drum programming, synths, flutes, trumpets and sax. I dunno…maybe it takes more than one listen to really get the feel of what these Blackbyrds are trying to put across. I'll tell you this much, it's not the Blackbyrd music from their funky fusion days. If the name Incognito was slapped on the front of this CD it would be a distinct improvement. After listening to the CD I was really disappointed. Not one cut on it made me want to get up and groove except "No Stopping", an Incognito tune if ever I heard one. Drum programmed front to finish, synth-laden lead and accompanied by more synthetics, yet it's the best track on this mediocre effort. I was expecting so much more from the Blackbyrds as it's been decades since they've produced a studio album. This lackluster release really wasn't worth the effort.