Music has the power to bring people together. This is especially true during troubled times of unrest and uncertainty.
New Jersey-based vocalist, songwriter, and producer Laranah Phipps Ray aims to unite people through her Afro-Future jazz-infused funk band La Funkalicious and their new album Game Changer.
Produced by Kym Miller of the band “Instant Funk”, “Game Changer” evokes the cosmic jazz flares of Sun Ra, the groovy riffs of Nile Rogers, and vocals reckoning singers of the golden soul-jazz era.
One standout track from the album is “Stand Together.” Written by Laranah, the song features a stunning horn intro arranged by Arnetta Johnson, Funkalicious bass licks by Tom Littwin, and Laranah’s silky vocals which lead into the song’s call to action.
“If we stand together
We’ll all be so much better
We can build a better world”
“Stand Together” is described as a “rhythmic, melodic, and inter-dimensional anthem.” Interdimensional is a worthy descriptor of this song’s out-of-this-world sound that exemplifies La Funkalicious’ AfroFuture Jazz-Funk. Check it out on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebgEN7vJ714
Another notable track is the personal “Connie’s Blues”, written by Laranah and Daryl Robinson. The album version starts off with a sixty-second keyboard intro that evokes starlight and messages sent into outer space, before drums, a bass groove, and vocals launch the song proper.
Check it out on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3x8tM4l2GY
“Connie’s Blues, Connie’s Blues
Everybody’s buzzin ’bout Connie’s Blues
Win or Lose
There’s no use
You mess around with Connie
You’ll be yesterday’s instant news
Come and get me (Bail me out)
Take me Home (Don’t Make a Fuss)
I’ve had enough
Laranah states that “Connie’s Blues” was written for her mother, who was murdered when Laranah was a teen. The song discusses how turbulent a strong independent woman’s life could be and how her mother’s strength uplifts and inspires her.
Laranah was born into music royalty, the Phipps Family, Newark’s First Family of Jazz. She is the daughter of pioneering saxophonist Gene Phipps Sr.
As a songwriter, Laranah Phipps has composed several songs, including “I Rule the Night,” “Love in Santiago,” “Sudden Love,” and “Save Me Now.” She recently collaborated with trumpeter Michael Ray and saxophonist Marshall Allen of Sun Ra Arkestra the single “Mayan Temple,” Kym Miller of Instant Funk on “COVID-19,” and Kevin Hearn of Barenaked Ladies on “Hello Hello (One World).”