“Southern Freeez” is the debut release from the disco/jazz funk 4 piece who led the Brit Funk semi explosion of the early 80s along with Maze, and Level 42. Led by John Rocca (percussion/vocals), along with Peter Maas (bass), Paul Morgan (drums), and Andy Stennett (keyboards), the band fused traditional disco with jazz funk, and Latin rhythms with varying degrees of success. The most striking perception one gets from listening to this long player is the standard of musicianship. They are without exception, gifted performers of their musical weapons of choice, particularly Stennett whose piano accompaniment on the opener “Mariposa” defies the long held view that musicians learn to play well as their recording career gains momentum. Stennett and co. have obvious skills in spades, and it shows.
The music breezes along serenely, and is a rare contradiction in that immediate dance floor disposability can combine with a depth to fill any living room with a warm vibrancy. Along with the excellent “Mariposa”, “Flying High”, and “Caribbean Winter”, the real stunner is the title track and major hit single “Southern Freeez”; a stunning slice of dark disco funk, magically sung by Ingrid Mansfield Allman, and deservedly would go on to fill dance floors in the UK for years after.
“Southern Freeez” is surprisingly mature, expertly performed, and raises a simple question. Why oh why did the band disintegrate after such an intriguing opener as this? The Carnival was brief but beautiful.
A2 Carribean Winter
A3 Easy on the Onions
B1 Flying High
B2 Southern Freeez
B3 Roller Chase
B4 First Love