Butcher Brown – Eye Never Knew

13th October 2023 · 2020s, 2023, Funk, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Music

Butcher Brown are a self-proclaimed “proud throwback to the progressive jazz-funk bands of the 1970s with a 21st century twist” – a phrase that would once have filled me with horror.

The word “fusion” used to send me running for the hills – in music, and in restaurant cuisine – but there are more elements here than jazz and funk, ranging to hip-hop, garage punk and what seems to be called future funk.

Butcher Brown comprises producer and engineer DJ Harrison (keyboards), Andrew Randazzo (bass), Corey Fonville (drums), who formed the group in 2012 in Richmond, Virginia, plus Morgan Burrs (guitar) and emcee Marcus Tenney, aka Tennishu (sax, trumpet).

They released theur accurately titled debut album All Purpose Music in 2014, going on to make a tribute to Fela called AfroKuti that is well worth seeking out. As is their 2018 Camden Session, recorded at Mark Ronson’s London studio.

More recently they spent the pandemic working on an electro-futurist take on jazz big bands with the unwieldy title MC Butcher Brown Presents Triple Trey featuring Tennishu and R4ND4ZZO BIGB4ND.

The same collaborative approach was employed in the writing, arranging, production and recording of Solar Music, weaving hip-hop, R&B, soul, funk, and pop into their compositions and enlisting a star-studded cast of collaborators including instrumentalists Keyon Harrold, Charlie Hunter, and Braxton Cook; rappers Michael Millions, Nappy Nina and Pink Siifu, and singers Vanisha Gould and Julia Shuren.