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Joseph "Amp" Fiddler, originally a keyboardist from Detroit, is a funk and soul musician who has worked with Enchantment, the Dramatics, George Clinton, Moodyman, Jamiroquai, The Brand New Heavies, Fishbone and Maxwell.
Along with his brother, Budz, he realsed the album Mr Fiddler in 1990 on Elektra. His debut solo album Waltz of a Ghetto Fly was released in 2004.
The new album'Afro Strut' is the follow up to that record and a sign that his assured and open-minded approach to his own sound has engendered a stylistic leap forward, creating in the process a diverse and ambitious second album. As a man who has achieved almost every goal he has set himself, whether it be becoming a multi instrumentalist talent, joining George Clinton's Funkadelic, or developing a base for like minded musical luminaries to collaborate and create, it was always to be expected. 'Waltz...' was more of a vibe, a full stop on a long period of his life to that point and a drawing together of unfinished songs and feelings from his youth. 'Afro Strut' was to be the fresh start that sees Amp able to look further forward as well as back to his roots, and as a result has the feel of a more fully-realised vision.
The array of collaborators and contributors to the record further emphasises this approach. Opener 'Faith' sets the standard with Amp joined by Raphael Saadiq on a timelessly deep ode to spirituality of a different kind. The UK's Justin Crawford (one half of Manchester-based dj/production outfit Unabombers) is brought in for two of the standout disco-flecked cuts 'Right Where You Are' and 'Ridin'. Amp's Jazz heritage rolls to the fore on the uplifting 'If I Don't', recalling his days in doo-wop outfit The Enchantments as a teenager and laying open the musical make up of its creator.
The sadly departed Jay Dilla's group Slum Village, another product of Camp Amp, the basement recording studio at Amp's 7 Mile home that has also had local luminary Moodyman in regular residence, is represented on the bumping 'I Need You'. Tony Allen, the man accredited with creating afrobeat alongside the great Fela Kuti, provides the drums on Afro Strut and another great, Jay-Z collaborator, Grammy winning string arranger and former member of MFSB Larry Gold steps up on album closer 'Hustle.
By referencing many of the great contemporary black music movements be it Jazz, Doo-Wop, Afrobeat, soul or hip-hop, Afro Strut is, like its predecessor, without modern day comparison. The collusion of a lifetime of influences and experiences that are drawn on, used, discarded and Amp-lified across twelve rich slices of raw funk.
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