When Pimps of Joytime visionary Brian J started laying down grooves in a New Orleans studio in early 2019, he didn’t exactly have a proper album in mind, so much as capturing the steady flow of ideas that were at his fingertips seemingly every day. Over two years and a global pandemic later, Reachin’ Up is Pimps’ vibrant new full-length album that finds the venerable frontman once again brimming with trademark kaleidoscopic styles and undeniably funky dance music.
An amalgamation of New Orleans and Bay Area funk elements juxtaposed with Brooklyn’s indie DIY ethos, Pimps of Joytime mirror the diversity of their communities and eclectic generational tastes. Traditionally, their music has always ignored established norms and colored outside the lines, and you can always expect the band to deliver an incendiary live show with swaggering confidence and undeniable cool. With Brian J consistently at the helm, the group has evolved through various configurations since bursting on the scene in 2004. They’ve created countless soulful, swaggering grooves across five full length releases, and can be found playing tours and festivals consistently around the world.
With Brian J once again handling a sizable portion of writing, instrumentation, and production, this sizzling new Pimps elixir incorporates crucial contributions from partner Carol C, and several performances from New Mastersounds bassist Pete Shand. Though a decidedly- fresh start for this long-running, genre-blurring collective, on Reachin’ Up, Brian J reconnects with old friends like Chauncey Yearwood and Marcus Farrar (Antibalas), whose roots trace back to Pimps of Joytime’s earliest efforts. Their contributions are prominently featured on the album’s singles, bringing the project full circle.
Splitting time between Brooklyn and New Orleans, and honing his craft as an accomplished live performer, multi-instrumentalist, and producer, Brian J is no stranger to working with legendary talent in both studio and live settings. He’s produced a number of celebrated Crescent City artists including Cyril Neville (The Neville Brothers), and shared the stage with George Porter Jr., Zigaboo Modeliste, and the late Art Neville (The Meters), as well as Big Easy legend Eddie Bo.
Brian J has collaborated with GRAMMY Award-nominated blues artist Cedric Burnside (grandson of legendary blues musician R.L. Burnside), and written with jazz-funk luminary Roy Ayers, among others. Brian J. and his cohorts are constantly reinventing Pimps of Joytime, both on-stage and in-studio. With a swath of influences drawing extensively from funk, blues, soul, salsa, house, rock, and beyond, their body of work is an evolving musical mosaic deftly tied together with a devilish dance groove. Reachin’ Up finds Brian J inspired by a blossoming romance, stillness in time, and the classic funky disco and seminal dub reggae of yesteryear. The beloved bandleader continues in the tradition of channeling positivity, righteous intention, and subtle spirituality into the essence of Pimps of Joytime.
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