Normally based in Los Angeles, the aptly named Rock Candy Funk Party bought their unique blend of jazz and funk to New York City for a special four night run at the famed Iridium Jazz Club. As the band took the stage, lead guitarist Joe Bonamassa remarked, “We do this because we love playing music.” When the deep, hypnotic groove of “Octopus-E” began to fill the room, no one in the audience doubted Bonamassa’s heartfelt words.
Standing side by side, bassist Mike Merritt and guitarist Ron De Jesus looked like long lost brothers. Their seamless rhythms anchored each tune and kept heads bobbing to the beat all evening. Whether churning out terse electric piano riffs or indulging in flights of fancy on synthesizer, keyboardist Renato Neto added layers of depth and color to the music. Studiously hunched over his Gold Top Les Paul, the ever versatile Bonamassa demonstrated his mastery of jazz guitar.
At the end of the set, Bonamassa proudly exclaimed, “Rock Candy Funk Party takes New York! Mission accomplished!” The wild applause and ecstatic smiles in the audience suggested this was indeed the case.
– Jon Kleinmann