Papa Grows Funk

Mr. Patterson's Hat | Funky Krewe
By BRETT MILANO  |  July 9, 2007
3.0 3.0 Stars
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The third studio album by this popular New Orleans funk/jam band is in a sense their first studio album — the first devoted to five-minute songs instead of the long grooves they do on stage. It’s also their first post-Katrina studio album, and that means a change in their usual party-band vibe. The disc is about holding onto the spirit of New Orleans, whether they’re saluting the Mardi Gras Indian tradition or an admired local character (“I’m glad he’s still around,” goes the chorus of “John Brown”) or just playing a lot of old-school, Meters-derived funk. “Tootie Montana” is indeed funky, but it’s also the most serious thing this band have yet done. Based on the story of an Indian chief who died of a heart attack while testifying about police misconduct during Mardi Gras, it addresses both that incident and post-Katrina violence with the insistent chorus “This has gotta stop.” Along with the equally topical “Walk in Our Own Shoes,” it’s a song that could become a Crescent City standard. The instrumentals here are fun but less exciting — the band sound a bit reined-in, and leader/keyboardist John “Papa” Gros gives almost all the solo space to saxophonist Jason Mingledorff, leaving too little for himself. Still, it should provide fuel for those live workouts.

Papa Grows Funk | “Groove Cruise,” Rowes Wharf, Boston | July 13, 7:15 pm | 866.468.7619
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