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The Diplomats of Solid Sound Featuring the Diplomettes

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Album Review

Undoubtedly the funkiest thing to ever come out of Iowa City, the Diplomats of Solid Sound, led by the Hammond B-3 playing of Nate Basinger, have had a series of jazz-inflected instrumental funk albums that recall at times a sort of breezier version of Booker T. & the MG's. For this outing, though, the Diplomats, who also include Doug Roberson on guitar, Jim Viner on drums, David Basinger on baritone sax, and Eddie McKinley on tenor sax, have added vocals, courtesy of the Diplomettes (singers Sarah Cram, Katherine Ruestow, and Abbie Sawyer), and the result is a pleasantly varied and jazzy take on a set of R&B and funk pieces. The Diplomats don't really stomp the funk so much as they skate around it in a kind of soul-jazz mode, strong enough to dance to but light enough to allow for some real interplay between the players, and the addition of vocalists actually adds a little Caribbean lilt to things. Among the highlights here are the sturdy, muscular "Come in My Kitchen," the bright, snappy "Trouble Me," and the interesting reggae remix of "Hurt Me So" that closes things off, a track that is more dancehall than Sly Stone. It's all fun, but assuming the Diplomettes are going to stick around, the Diplomats of Solid Sound may be on the edge of breaking into a whole new place with their next release. Until then, this set shows some interesting possibilities, and it's the perfect album for a little summer dance party on the patio.


Formed: Iowa City, IA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '00s

Reviving the lightly funky but deeply soulful instrumental R&B sound of Booker T. & the MG's and the Meters, the Diplomats of Solid Sound not only prove that there's still a place for the mighty Hammond organ in 21st century pop music, but confirm the existence of dancefloor-filling soul music in Iowa City, IA. The Diplomats of Solid Sound originally formed in 1998 as a side project of retro-rockers the Bent Scepters, with three members of the Scepters -- bassist Dustin Connor, guitarist Doug Roberson,...
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The Diplomats of Solid Sound Featuring the Diplomettes, The Diplomats of Solid Sound
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