I’ve been listening to Lunar Orbit, Karl Denson’s first studio release, outside of a few download-only tracks I stumbled upon last year, in quite sometime. I’ll admit I’ve been a fan of Denson’s since 2001 when I picked up his Blue Note release, Dance Lesson #2, so I’d been on the lookout for this release for a while. KD3 is a stripped down version of the Karl Denson Tiny Universe. The opening track, the title song “Lunar Orbit,” sonically brings me back visually to the former KDTU website, the one where Karl and his bandmates are depicted as space–based comic book action super-heroes, due to the spacey organ led funk and Denson’s superb flute work. This lays the groundwork for a very strong 10-track recording. Trio, Tiny Universe – who cares – it doesn’t matter; this is Karl, funking it up, the way he knows best – soulful, dreamy, hot and sexy jam-based jazzy funk. I can only imagine what these tunes will morph into in a live setting. Denson’s sax and flute are beautifully backed in this organ/key and drum outing. FYI, my favorite track – “Break Me Down.”
There is no shortage of praise for Lunar Orbit from the Karl Denson Trio. Andrew Gilbert recently wrote about Denson’s reasons for doing the trio format, his thoughts about Greyboy Allstars, and more. To quote Gilbert’s article: “Sit him down in the middle of a polka band and Karl Denson would find a way to put it in the pocket and make it groove.” True.
ContemporaryJazz.com reviewer John Luciano is also a fan of Denson’s. His new review confirms that it doesn’t matter if it’s a trio, the Karl Denson Tiny Universe, or whatever the format: “this is Karl, funking it up, the way he knows best – soulful, dreamy, hot and sexy jam-based jazzy funk.” Read John’s full review for more on Lunar Orbit.