Ever since George Clinton promised, "Free your ass and your mind will follow," funk bands have aimed to find the perfect cerebral groove. Orgone, a nine-piece Los Angeles-based Afrobeat/funk/soul ensemble keeps the axiom in mind, searching for the midpoint between booty-shaking and chin-stroking. The group has been playing together for more than 10 years, and you can hear it in their precise grooves, which manage to sound as casual and effortless as mindless jamming. Orgone captures the organic tones of '70s funk and soul perfectly, but the band isn't stuck in the past, putting down taut grooves on records by Alicia Keys, Solange Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, and touring as Texas-based rapper Bun B's backing band. The session work may help pay the bills, but the band is at its best when getting down on its own sound, a heady blend of sounds that suggests the band takes Wilhelm Reich's "orgone energy" (universal life force) philosophy to heart as much as appropriate George Clinton quotes. Slightly more sophisticated and fine-tuned than your cousin's crappy jam band, no?
Fri., March 22, 11 p.m., 2013