June 27, 2022

A rather strange name for a band but Lettuce is a funk rock sextet which was founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1992 with Unify being the band’s funkadelically delicious eighth album and what a marvellous work it is too. The musicians all originally met at the influential Berklee College of Music when a mutual love of Earth Wind And Fire, Tower Of Power, Herbie Hancock and Parliament brought them all together. The guys all seemed to love the jazz funk fusion that is so upbeat and rather jaunty as well as technically complex allowing for great flights of fancy and the opportunity for extensive jams.

Several musicians have come and gone over the years so the line-up these days is Adam Deitch on drums, Ryan Zoidis on saxophone, Adam ‘Shmeeans’ Smirnoff on guitar, Erick ‘Jesus’ Coomes on bass, Nigel Hall on keyboards and vocals and Eric ‘Benny’ Bloom on trumpet which means that they still have four original members on board.

Lettuce released the first album Outta Here in 2002 and their career has been ever upwards since then. If you know funk through bands like Parliament and Earth Wind and Fire then you are going to love Unify with is huge funky beats with a real soulful feel but there is plenty of tight funk/jazz fusion experimentation and you will derive huge joy from hearing the horns and guitar combining in perfect harmony. The album is mostly instrumental but there are several songs with vocals and they even managed to persuade the legendary Bootsy Collins to sing on Keep The Funk Alive which is a real affirmation of what they are doing from the elder statesman of funk.

If you are into Parliament then Unify is a must have and even if you have previously dismissed funk then give this album a whirl as I’m certain it will change your mind. While you are at it then also give a listen to the band’s live album Witches Stew from 2017 which is nothing short of revelatory and jazz and funk fusion at it’s very best.

Unify is one of those amazing album that you can enjoy on your own under headphones or blasting from your stereo but probably best played with friends and a couple of drinks, serious party rock that works on so many different levels and 71-minutes of sheer bootylicious funk. By the way, the strange name came about from the early days when the musicians used to trail around the various Boston jazz clubs asking the club owners to ‘let us play’. A nice story and I really hope that it is true.

Unify

  1. RVA Dance (5:42)
  2. Keep That Funk Alive (4:21)
  3. Waffles (6:20)
  4. Everything’s Gonna Be Alright (3:33)
  5. ‘Lude 1 (0:29)
  6. Hawk’s Claw (5:33)
  7. The Lock (5:06)
  8. Vámonos (5:52)
  9. Change the World (4:26)
  10. ‘Lude 2 (0:30)
  11. Gravy Train (6:00)
  12. Shine (5:50)
  13. Get It Together (4:39)
  14. ‘Lude 3 (0:29
  15. Lett The World Know (5:19)
  16. Insta-Classic (6:35)