Multicultural acid jazz collective Brooklyn Funk Essentials was conceived in 1993 by producer Arthur Baker and bassist/musical director Lati Kronlund.
By the following year, the group was a staple of the New York City club scene, with early lineups including singers Joi Cardwell, Sha-Key, and Papa Dee, poets Everton Sylvester and David Allen, DJ Jazzy Nice, keyboardist Yuka Honda (soon to co-found Cibo Matto), trumpeter Bob Brachmann, trombonist Joshua Roseman, saxophonist Paul Shapiro, drummer Yancy Drew, and percussionist E.J. Rodriguez. Brooklyn Funk Essentials' debut album, Cool and Steady and Easy arrived in 1994. A major factor in the emergence of independent U.K. label Dorado, the album featured an underground hit with its rendition of Pharoah Sanders' "The Creator Has a Master Plan," while saxophonist Maceo Parker appeared on "Blow Your Brains Out." When Caldwell exited to mount a solo career, she was replaced by vocalist Stephanie McKay. In the Buzz Bag, a collaboration with Turkish group Laço Tayfa, followed in 1998. Two years later, the group returned with Make 'Em Like It, after which McKay left. The band didn't release their fourth album, Watcha Playin', until 2008. After a return to the Dorado label, BFE released Funk Ain't Ova in 2015. ~ Jason Ankeny