Blues In Britain interview Stefan Redtenbacher 'Blues In Britain' interview with Steve Morphew for the…
REDTENBACHER’S FUNKESTRA DISCOGRAPHY
Stefan Redtenbacher formed his Funkestra in 1996 in Boston, MA. He has been prolific in Jazz Funk Fusion genre ever since. Here his current discography.
BOOZING WIZARDS (SEARCHING FOR THE STONE OF FUNK) | 1996
Original instrumental Jazz Funk album, rhythm section and 3 piece horn section, one vocal Donny Hathaway cover.
This is Stefan’s first album, recorded all the way back in the spring of 1996 in Winthrop, just outside Boston. The band comprises a mixture of Berklee College of Music professors Dave Limina (keyboards), Larry Finn (drums) and Stefan’s fellow Berklee College of Music chums (notably Thomas Feurer on saxophone) and Nichol Thomson (on trombone) plus friends from Austria (Sebastian Grimus on flute and Rober Friedl on saxophone.
FALLING FROM INSANITY | 2004
Stefan’s sophomore album recorded in London, UK. Stylistically this collection of songs is branching out and encompasses Jazz, Funk and Fusion influences. Full of horns, infectious grooves & colorful sounds, effortlessly combining the best of old and nu skool funk.
“Stefan, you know what the funk is about.”
Fred Wesley | trombonist and MD of the late James Brown
Live show favourites: Juggernaut Blondes
Big Band arrangements: You Can’t Hide (with vocals)
HAUSMUSIK | 2007
This postive, upbeat and infectious instrumental jazzy funk album features big band horn arrangements and a seriously funky rhythm section with dance-floor undertones.
“Man, that is some bad sh**. It’s great to hear from a dedicated funkster like yourself. I really love all the textured bass sh**.”
Will Lee | Bassist for David Letterman show
Special guests: Fred Wesley, Elliott Randall, Stephen ‘Doc’ Kupka Sid Gauld
Live show favourites: Fred’s Haus, The Chit-Chat, Music To Swing Your Manbag To, Bow Wow
Big Band arrangements: Music To Swing Your Manbag To
CONCUBINE CHRONICLES (LIVE AT BRITISH GROVE) | 2008
This is a Jazz Funk album with Jazz Rock overtones best representing the quintet at the time.
This album, recorded live-in-the-studio at Mark Knopfler‘s British Grove, represents the original ‘classic’ Funkestra five piece line-up. Mike Sturgis on drums, Eran Kendler on guitar, Jim Hunt on tenor saxophone (who at the time was working intensely with Amy Winehouse) and steady across-the-pond member Dave Limina, now piano chair of Berklee College of Music.
The album features quintet versions of ‘Juggernaut Blondes’ (‘Ferocious Juggernaut Blondes Revisited’) from ‘Falling From Insanity’, ‘Music To Swing Your Manbag To’ (‘Music to keep on swinging your handbag to’) from ‘Hausmusik’ and ‘King Louis’ (‘The King of the Jungle’) from ‘Boozing Wizards’.
There is also a ‘cover’ or rather a ‘re-imagination’ of’ Radiohead‘s ‘Nude’ on the album.
Live show favourites: Zap-a-lot, Music To Swing Your Handbag To, The King of the Jungle, Atomic Sterile Flies, Jazz Cats
PS: In the lead-up to to recording at British Grove the band recorded some of the tunes at Stakeout Studios (2007). Although never officially released you can download on Bandcamp for free or any price you choose.
LITTLE BLACK RAINCLOUD with BRENDAN REILLY | 2012 | EP
Brendan Reilly performed with artists such as Disclosure, Quincy Jones and Basement Jaxx all around the world at iconic venues such as Madison Square Garden, the Royal Albert Hall and the Sydney Opera House, and the world’s biggest festivals, such as Glastonbury, Coachella, and Fuji Rock. He is also a member of the Ronnie Scott’s Soul Family which delights a world-wide audience in the center of London on a regular basis.
This collaboration EP with Redtenbacher’s Funkestra was recorded in 2012, fairly shortly after he arrived in London | UK. A great document of his early days in London before he fully embarked on an A+ list career. His compositions ‘Turned on’ and ‘How it’s gonna Be’ became audience favourites at Funkestra gigs at the 606 Club in Chelsea.
Live show favourites: Turned On, How it’s Gonna Be
Big Band arrangements: Turned On, How it’s Gonna Be
A VERY FUNKY CHRISTMAS | 2012 | EP | WOODEN HAT RECORDS
‘A Very Funky Christmas’ infuses funk, 60s boogaloo, jazz and 70s disco into classic holiday songs. This collection surely will inspire you to boogie through the season and take your holiday joy to the next level. Featured is “A Very Funky Christmas”, a Redtenbacher’s Funkestra original track destined to be added to everyone’s holiday party mix.
“This five-song EP is just the thing to brighten up any staid holiday gathering. These instrumentals percolate with Latin jazz-funk, bringing big-band juice and rhythmic punch to four yuletide classics and one original, the title track.” (Los Angeles Times, 3-star review out of 4 by Randy Lewis)
“YAY!!!!! I LOVE THIS and can pretty much promise that this’ll get HEAVY play on The Night Before… well done!!” (Robert Drake – WXPN Philadelphia)
Rosalie Howard (KFOG)
Dennis Constantine (KFOG)
Live show favourites: Deck the Halls
Big Band arrangement: Deck The Halls
THE COOKER | 2013
A through-and-through Jazz Funk album featuring a US 5-piece horn section lead by trombonist Michael B Nelson (Hornheads, Prince’s New Power Generation hornz, Cory and the Wongtones, Dirty Loopz) and a UK horn section lead by Sid Gauld (Incognito, Snowboy Roberto Pla).
Live show favourites: The Oracle, Bo & Rhino, Crankmaster General, The Cooker
DR HYPENSTEIN | 2015 | WOODEN HAT RECORDS
This is arguably the most successful Funkestra album to date. It was co-produced by Stefan’s longstanding writing partner Thomas Feurer and showcases Stefan’s bassplaying with muscular horns and infectious beats. This record is Stefan’s most bass-centric work and ‘Funktionality’ has become the most listened Funkestra tune since the beginning of the band, played by many youg and inspiring bassists all over the world.
Live show favourites: Dr Hypenstein, Funktionality
Bass transcription: Funktionality (+TAB)
THE TIME THIEF | 2016 | WOODEN HAT RECORDS
A through-an-through Jazz Funk offering with ambitious arrangements and in some respects a follow-up record to ‘The Cooker’. It is meant to be a saxophone feature heavy album supported by Michael B Nelson‘s 5 piece horn section. The writing collaboration between Michael and Stefan has expanded and allowed Michael to stretch out with his horn arrangements. This has produced some very exciting horn features in many of the tunes which has inspired Funk ensembles around the globe to add to their repertoire.
Live show favourites: Funkie Moon, Mr Goyle, 2048, Universality
REIMAGINED BY BEAT FATIGUE | 2017
This is is the first collaboration with Dutch Glitch Funk producer Beat Fatigue. I recommend listening to this through proper speakers and a great bass response. I dare you not to dance to these awesome Glitch Funk reimaginations of Funkestra originals from ‘The Time Thief’, ‘The Cooker‘ and ‘A Little Book of Jazz’.
One of the interesting facts about Beat Fatigue is that he is not only great with electronic music, he also plays a seriously mean Jazz Funk guitar (as you can hear on some of those remixes).
Audience favourites: ‘The Oracle’, ‘Bow Wow’.
Here a fast pace Spotify preview of the EP.
PART OF ME with HELENA MAY | 2018
Bushy-tailed and blue-eyed Welsh soulstress Helena May meets ‘battle-hardened’ club Jazz Funk band and create an inspiring collection of funky re-imaginations of Rock and Pop covers songs. An entertaining and fun album.
THE STRING SESSIONS | 2019 | PEDIGREE CUTS (UNIVERSAL)
A perfect writing collaboration of string player and arranger Pete Whitfield and Stefan Redtenbacher to cook up an album of theme tunes for imaginary 70s cop shows.
Special guest: Louise Clare Marshall
Live show favourites: Skintight (Save My Skin)
Big Band arrangements : Welcome to the Funkhaus
Here a fast pace Spotify preview of the album.
FONKY (BIG FUNK REMIXED BY BEAT FATIGUE) | 2020
This is the 2nd collaboration EP with Dutch glitch funk producer and guitarist Beat Fatigue. It follows the 2017 ‘Reimagined by Beat Fatigue’ EP. Make sure to listen to this on a great audio system with plenty of bass. All intros are teasing you until the massive ‘drop’ (of drums and bass in this case).
Audience favourties: ‘Dance’, ‘Funkberater’ (although all tracks have been equally well received).
Here a fast pace Spotify preview of the EP.
SIGNATURE SOUL with JO HARMAN | 2020
The collaboration between UK soul and blues vocalist Jo Harman and the band started with a Masterlink Session filming ‘Cloudy’ by Hamish Stuart (Average White Band, Ringo Starr All Starrs) and ‘Cyprus Avenue’ (Van Morrison) featuring vibraphone player Orphy Robinson. Clearly there was a special energy between Jo and the band which paved the way for recording this EP live in the studio. Soul music pure.
Audience favourites: ‘Loving Arms’
A LITTLE BOOK OF JAZZ | 2020 | PEDIGREE CUTS (UNIVERSAL)
This is Stefan’s tribute to the sounds of the legendary Blue Note Jazz label and their engineer Rudy Van Gelder. It’s a collection of tunes inspired by years of playing Jazz standards with the help of the ‘Real Book, fifth edition’.
Big Band arrangements: Save My Skin (Skintight)
THE HANG | 2020
An out and out Jazz Funk album featuring Boston saxophone virtuoso Tucker Antell and UK guitar wizard Mike Outram propelled forward by Mike Sturgis on drums, Dave Limina on keyboards, Karl Vanden Bossche on percussion and Stefan Redtenbacher on bass. Recorded over three days at Masterlink Studio with all musicians contributing original Jazz Funk compositions. One of the most successful Funkestra records to date.
Live show favourites: Kerria Lacca, Monster Funk, Wiggles
THE INSTRUMENTAL MASTERLINK SESSIONS | VOL 1 | 2020
The ‘Masterlink Sessions’ are a joint venture of James Welch (Masterlink Productions), Leo Mansell (Shoot and Splice Films) and Stefan Redtenbacher (Redtenbacher’s Funkestra). On a regular basis they invite artists to film and record tracks live-in-the-studio.
Under the leadship of Stefan the Funkestra has become the studio house band for these sessions, very much in the footsteps of Booker T & The MGs, the Funkbrothers, the Swampers, the Wrecking Crew or the Daptones.
At the beginning they predominatly arranged covers in a Jazz and Funk style. As things progressed they embraced a much wider stylistic scope as well as performing predominantly original material with the exception of the repertoire of Joni Mitchell. This album represents the early part of their journey featuring musicians from the Redtenbacher’s Funkestra collective and new friends in an all instrumental collection.
Special guests: GUITAR | Leo Appleyard, Nat Martin, Mike Outram, Nigel Price, SAX | Tucker Antell, Piers Green, Vasillis Xenopoulis, KEYS | Pete Billington, Dave Limina, Ross Stanley, Stevie Watts.
BIG FUNK BAND | 2021
Stefan invited over 40 musicians from 4 continents to great this mammoth piece of work. Inspired by concerts with large ensembles this all original Jazz Funk album features 13 piece horn sections on top of expanded rhythm sections. ‘Wall-to-wall’ Jazz Funk would be a good summary of this album featuring a host of international renown drummers. ‘The Time Thief’ was in many respects about the saxophone, ‘Big Funk Band’ is comparibly about the drums.
SEVEN ROADS with JADE LIKE THE STONE | 2021
From the outside this collaboration wouldn’t seem a great fit – however, Welch psychadelic Folk Rock vocalist Jade Like the Stone and the Funkestra have found great mutual musical ground on this album. The coming together of these two artists was initiated by the Masterlink Sessions followed by further recording sessions in/out of lockdown restrictions. After just one listen the chemistry between Jade and the band is abundandly obvious.
Key tracks: Fire in the blood, Blackbirds
THE GOLDEN SWITCHBACK | 2021 | PEDIGREE CUTS (UNIVERSAL)
This is the 60s theme song album that Stefan always wanted to write and produce. It features a 9-piece horn section and inspired by classic film music recordings by Lalo Schifrin, Quincy Jones and John Barry. This is the album that Stefan would love to perform live on stage with some cool 60s video footage showing behind the band.
Key tracks: The Golden Switchback
MASTERLINK SESSIONS | THE VOCAL SESSIONS | VOL 1-3 | 2022
As the name implies all these songs were creating during the filming of Masterlink Sessions. Leo Mansell (Shoot and Splice Films), James Welch (Masterlink Productions) and Stefan Redtenbacher (Redtenbacher’s Funkestra) invite selected guest to create live-in-the-studio video and sound recordings. The studio or house band are the Masterlink All Stars (AKA Redtenbacher’s Funkestra) lead by myself. I normally fix the sessions and spend some time with the artist to write charts and arrangements before we are going into the studio. Ocassionaly we literally just meet on day for the first time and workshop through the tunes just before filming/recording. All the sound recordings on ‘The Vocal Sessions | Vol 1-3’ are live-in-the-studio renditions capturing the excitement of playing together, often for the first time.
Special guests: Laura Evans, Mike Farris, Jade Like the Stone, Jo Harman, Isobel Holly, Louise Clare Marshall, Helena May, Jane Morris, Jazz Morley, Moñtanera, Purdy, Hollie Rogers, Connor Selby, Diana Silveira, Gemma Stoddard, Hamish Stuart, Sam Tanner, Georgia Van Etten, Jana Varga, Edith WeUtonga.
BOTH SIDES NOW | 2022
Having been a Joni Mitchell fan ever since hearing Joni’s ‘Mingus’ album in the 80s this album is an homage to the great artist. More specifically a re-imagination of many of her most treasured songs carefully selected by invited guest vocalists who share Stefan’s passion for her art. This is not a singer-songwriter album with acoustic guitars and dulcimers rather than a collection of re-imaginations influenced by Joni’s 70s Jazz Rock Fusion phase viewed through a soul lense with jazz undertones.
Find out more about this project HERE.
THE COLOURS OF JONI | 2023
This instrumental Jazz Funk re-imagination album goes hand-in-hand with ‘Both Sides Now’ and takes some of Joni’s tunes to unexpected places. This album will drop later in 2023. You can read about it HERE.
FORMATS AND MEDIA
If you would like to know more details about these releases (plus the ones currently in production) and in what formats they are available (CDs, Vinyl, downloads, streaming-only) feel free to download the overview HERE or have a look at this tabe. Note that all albums (except where indicated) have been released on RSB Records, Stefan’s indie record store.