Engaging in the most basic online research, we learn some fascinating things about veteran guitarist Duffmusiq as we listen, dance, bop, sway, chill and groove along to the multitude of funky/bluesy/jazzy old-schooling vibes on his nonstop poppin’ sophomore album Sidewalk Sequel.
Most notable is this: After 15 years of playing in a successful band (Jamesking), producing and licensing songs to television, the Serbian born, Toronto based artist – real name: Damir Demirovic - made a powerful initial splash with Soulleash, a debut album as soulful, tasty and dynamic as the title would imply. The detail that remains unrevealed is where the moniker “Duffmusiq” comes from, what it signifies or why it’s the branding he chose to share his extraordinary artistry.
That’s actually okay because from here on out – and you’ll feel this the minute the struttin’, hypnotic opening electric guitar, organ and Rhodes with James Brownesque vocals jam “Gravy” sweeps your senses – the term “Duffmusiq” should be more about an overall vibe, a musical fusion of traditional and contemporary energies that is more movement than something that need be limited to a single musical genius with a guitar.
The guitarist builds momentum for that movement with a colorful journey of many moods, filled with tight grooves, spirited R&B and jazz influenced playing. And there are horns, lots of brass and sass, accenting and punching up the intensity of freewheeling romps like “Catch My Drift” and adding passion to seductive and romantic blues/soul expressions a la “Tender Little Kisses” and the ultra-cool, easy flowing “My Mellow.”
Duffmusiq’s titles tell the tale quite often, as “Cool Beans” offers a playful guitar-organ conversation over an insistent funked out shuffle and “Nuke the Fridge” is about as sizzling as it gets, blending rock, funk and jazz sensibilities that include a snazzy soaring trumpet solo. The sultry, slow simmering closer “Ordinary Fool” expands these classic jazz influences with a touch of gospel flair. That track is one of four featuring both a vocal and instrumental version among the 14 tracks. Instrumentals of “Gravy,” “She’s Such a Lady” and “Tender Little Kisses” appear at the end, giving listeners the choice of hearing the Duffmusiq aesthetic expressed with male and female singers or via the artist’s heart and spirit penetrating guitar.
Jonathan Widran - www.JazzMonthly.com