Fun and Funky

Funked Up! (Heads Up Intl.)
Candy Dulfer

By Steve Morgan

For those not familiar with Candy Dulfer, the sexy Dutch-born jazz saxophonist first appeared on the scene back in 1990 with her solo debut, Saxuality. Some may recall the video for the album's hit single "Lily Was Here," which featured the timid yet alluring young redhead playing alto alongside collaborator Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics.

Since then, she has worked with many more big names, including everyone from Aretha Franklin to Pink Floyd. Dulfer has also had a long musical relationship with Prince, touring with him frequently since the early 90's and playing on his 2006 release 3121.

Judging by the cover of her latest effort, Funked Up, Dulfer has aged quite gracefully. At 40, she still seems (and looks) very comfortable with her status as the world's hottest jazz saxophonist. Musically speaking, however, she displays a confidence and maturity far removed from her shy beginnings.

As its title insists, Funked Up is a fun, funky album. Texturally, the work is quite varied, alternating between live band arrangements and more electronic compositions headed up by European techno artist Thomas Bank. Fellow Prince veterans, drummer Kirk Johnson and bassist/keyboard player Chance Howard, also make a few worthy cameos, most notably on the groove-tastic "On & On."

From the slow, bubbly reggae grooves of "True & Tender," to the screaming, brassy horn lines found on "First in Line" and "Stay Cool" (my favorite track), to the echoing electronic beats of "Don't Go" and "Finger Poppin'," Dulfer freely explores as many funky nooks and crannies as possible. One thing which is common to every track, however, are the loads of clean, tasteful, melodic licks and understated solos on which Candy Dulfer has built her sound.

Find out more at candydulfer.nl.