Exposé Online banner

Michael Ray and the Cosmic Krewe — Funk If I Know
(Monkey Hill Records 8142-2, 1999, CD)

by Rob Walker, Published 2000-05-01

Funk If I Know Cover art

The Cosmic Krewe’s music is an almost perfect hybrid of trumpeter/keyboardist/vocalist Michael Ray’s two most significant former gigs. Here, as on the band’s 1994 debut, Ray’s Krewe swings effortlessly among the playful sing-song melodies and free jazz exotica of Sun Ra’s Arkestra, and the horn heavy, high-energy R&B funk of Kool and the Gang. It may not be fair to judge an album by what it isn’t, but in this case it is necessary for the proper perspective. The Cosmic Krewe’s live shows are a spectacle to behold, with dazzling costumery and lights to complement the delightfully unrestrained improvisations and free jazz journeys that can literally go on for hours. The pieces presented on the band’s albums are for the most part merely the song heads, used as the occasional anchor points during a live show. On Funk if I Know there are a few places where the live adventurousness breaks through, but for anyone who has experienced the real thing, the studio recordings can come across as a bit hollow and abrupt. That said, this album does feature some tight fusion grooves, numerous catchy themes, and copious amounts of dexterous soloing from the whole band. Unfortunately, the music tends to shy away a bit from the Sun Ra side of things, leaving this a somewhat mediocre and one-sided document of a tremendously talented and exciting ensemble.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 19, 1999 releases

Related artist(s): Michael Ray

Latest news

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Neuschwanstein - Battlement – Neuschwanstein was a German band whose sole surviving artifact is their incredibly powerful album Battlement, originally released on the Racket label. The sound on the LP could be described as Planets...  (1993) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues