In October, the deans of New Orleans funk released Walkin' in the Shadow of Life, their first album since 1999. To these ears, the beats were too terse, booming and computer-driven. Where were the supple, undulating grooves that had always been their stock-in-trade?
My answer came at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday, where the Neville Brothers delivered a spirited set that proved to a certainty that the band still possessed that flowing, syncopated rhythmic sense, not to mention that deep vocal chemistry that it seems only kin can possess (their version of Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come" was a stunner). Brothers Aaron, Cyril, Art and Charles will be joined by Aaron's son Ivan, one of the grandsons and some terrific sidemen. This show is a nice diversion from the Florida State Fair's usual slate of country fare.
Neville Brothers, Feb. 14, Ford Amphitheatre, Tampa.