THE instinct for and sheer love of their genre, not to mention formidable technical mastery which once confounded listeners – who felt that Average White Band must surely hail from somewhere in the United States rather than the unlikely funk and soul hotbed of Dundee – is still in full, potent effect 40 years on; such that these veteran players can faithfully deliver the likes of Marvin Gaye’s I Want You, pay tribute to soul sax legend Maceo Parker and even take on The Crusaders’ Put It Where You Want It without breaking sweat.
Average White Band
Original members Alan Gorrie and Onnie McIntyre provided the continuity but a performance this tight must be a team effort. Fred Vigdor, another longstanding cohort, provided the feverish saxophone squall while relative new boy Brent Carter supplied swoonworthy soul vocals, complementing Gorrie’s beefy baritone with exquisite falsetto to evoke the summer funk sound of Earth, Wind & Fire and The Isley Brothers.
Together they brewed an instant pick-me-up of a set, keeping as tight a rein on the slow smooches as the sinewy dance tracks or hip acid jazz interludes, while still leaving room for that certain soulful ache. Ninety minutes passed in a heartbeat, culminating in a joyous spin through Let’s Go Round Again and a lean not mean Pick Up the Pieces which segued playfully in to and out of Kool & the Gang’s Jungle Boogie with ageless agility.