PHO - two
Recently in Madison to open a show for TAUK, the 7 piece horn-driven instrumental powerhouse from Minneapolis called PHO got the evening off on the right foot… well, both feet actually, as they immediately won over the Madison music freaks and got everybody off their butts and on to the dance floor. As such, I did not hesitate when asked to review the group’s new CD, their sophomore effort, simply titled ‘two’.
There is a Prince vibe present here, which is not by accident. His Royal Purpleness had taken notice of PHO shortly before his passing in 2016, and actually invited them to open for Larry Graham at Paisley Park. Additionally, percussion on the ‘two’ CD is courtesy of Kirk Johnson from Prince’s New Power Generation.
So, regardless of all the accolades and awesome associations, how does this music stand up, purely of it’s own merit? Quite exquisitely, thank you very much! This musical collection is more than dance / funk / groove rock… these songs all breathe with their own lungs, and stimulate and invigorate a life all their own. Sometimes colored by a more avant garde electronic sound, and other times throwing down old school jazz rock like some 1970s attitude that could have been found on a Brecker Brothers or Crusaders album.
One thing is for certain, if you’ve got ants in your pants and you need to dance, then you got to get some mo’ PHO in your diet! This music is chock full of “Vitamin Whee-e-e-e-e-e” and is guaranteed to cure whatever might ail you! Just be sure to stretch first, ‘cause your muscles are going to get a hip shakin’ workout!