“Funk is the Final Frontier” released 2017 on Impression Records
1. Funk is the Final Fronteir2. Constant Things3. Curtis4. Your body’s Hot5. The Love I Once Knew6. Trapped in the Funk7. Expedition8. Jan Jan9. Love and Things10. Blues Ain’t Nothing to Play With11. Big Bad12. York Chops Also includes DVD documenting the album’s production!DVD:1. The “Making Of Funk Is The Final Frontier” at Avatar Studios NYC2. Curtis purchase the “Deluxe Edition” CD/DVD
“Expedition” released 2011 on Impression Records
East1. Love and Things2. Curtis3. Complain to the Clouds4. Sometime LaterWest1. Funk is the Final Frontier2. York Chops3. CNN Blues4. Expedition purchase a copy
“Outta Control” Released in 1999 on Impression Records
1. Ain’t Too Proud To Beg2. On Broadway3. Johnny B. Good4. Payback5. Cold Sweat6. Europa7. I Feel Good8. Give Up The Funk9. Wah 2 Zee10. Funky Spoons11. Muddy’s Drums & Bottles12. Big Bad Bottum13. 2AM Bridge14. Brick House15. Expeditiontotal playing time 73:42 purchase a copy
LMT Connection is an adventure-minded R&B/Soul/Motown band that owes its popularity to delivering amazing fresh versions of popular covers in a club atmosphere. Now the power three-piece has released a CD, OUTTA CONTROL, that — as such an album should — captures the individuality and vitality of the style and vibe they offer while doing so, creating a masterful keepsake/reminder of the great moments the group produces live. As this album demonstrates, LMT is an organic unit that feeds upon its audience as much as its co-dependent groove freak fans rely upon the band to be transported to magical musical places that elevate the spirit. By the end of the show, if not way before, you simply surrender to their intoxicatingly exciting and satisfying musical brew. Unless you’re not human!
There’s no need to go into details about the 15 tracks here. If you’ve ever heard the band you know how inspiringly magnificent their show is and I only need to say that putting this disc on and cranking it (as the dustjacket says: “For best results listen to this CD at maximum volume!”) is just like having the band and a bunch of friends in your living room — they’ve left in a lot of crowd noise (though it never gets in the way of the music), giving OUTTA CONTROL a truly live feel. I was flattered that a description I wrote of how the band affects me personally was used as liner notes for this album [See other article, “LMT Live!”]. Everything I said in that account also applies to this disc — except maybe for the fact that on the record, unlike in their live show, it doesn’t take even a song, let alone a set, to move you right into the worshipsphere; it just kicks in at total high energy from the first track and notches up from there!
Gary 17 TO Nite 2000
“Universal Soul ” Released in 2003 on Impression Records / United-One / B&3 Records
1. Lately2. Another Love Another Time3. Don’t4. Missing You5. What’s it All About6. Complain to the Clouds7. Things a Man Need8. Shiver (Prelude)9. Shiver10. You Belong to Me, I Belong to You11. Expedition12. Secrets to SuccessTotal playing time 53:32
LMT is not normal. LMT is not normal. LMT is not normal. I say it a few times as I sit here in Katz’ delicatessen on a hot and sultry New York City night. Leroy is fond of saying this to me whenever I see LMT Connection play. And what he means by this is that LMT defies convention – a thing that is quite uncommon these days. I remember a time in New York, Chicago, and Detroit when bands strived to be “not normal”. Miles, Coltrane, Parker, whole scenes in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. But now this is not so.
When you listen to this album or when you see LMT Connection play live you will hear true innovation. Clashing styles – jazz against funk, soul against true Rock ‘n’ Roll, history mixed with mystery. You’ll remember the first time you heard Chuck Berry, Wes Montgomery, Soul Train and the funkiest of the funky. But what will impress you the most about them is they welcome you into their brotherhood. You are welcome. You are one of them. You belong in their community, in their world. And it’s your world too – what a relief!!! Mark’s pulsating rhythms…John’s bass sneaking up on you…Leroy’s sweet tones inviting you in, taunting your ears. How can something be so right?
They’ll never play it quite the same again. But what’s great about this record is that it is permanent. You have in your possession a permanent record of a group that’s changing even as I write this. You will play this record over and over and you will hear something different every time you play it. I was honoured one time when Leroy said to me that I was different too, that I was “not normal”. But that was only because when I first heard LMT Connection it changed my life forever. I heard music that lifted me off my feet out onto the dance floor. I heard ballads that made me cry. I saw the love in the women who sighed along with LMT. It is a rare feeling.
Remember, this is a new millennium. We need fresh new sounds; the whole world needs this music. The “soul doctor” prescribes this record to the world.
And now it is out …and the world is grateful.
Dave Rave :: August 2003 :: NYC
“Color Me Funky” Released in 2008 on Impression Records / BHM Productions and ZYX Music
1. Funk is the Final Frontier2. Your Body’s Hot3. Color Me Funky4. Constant Things5. Party Time6. I Can’t Stop7. Curtis8. York Chops9. Wouldn’t You Rather Get Down?10. Big BadCD Includes:BONUS DVD from BB Kings 80th Birthday Tour1. Introduction by BB King2. Funk is the Final Frontier3. Your Body’s Hot4. “Hard Hittin” Drums5. Leroys’ Funky Spoons6. Hangin’ with BB
You know, it’s funny what can happen when you just throw out an idea.
In the winter of 2003, while hard at work on their previous recording Universal Soul, Mark suddenly had a thought. Or you might say he experienced a moment of divine inspiration. He turned to Leroy and said “I think it’s time for us to go to Europe.” And almost as instantly, I received a phone call from the band telling me the good news; later that year, LMT Connection would be embarking on their first European tour and releasing their album overseas.
As you can imagine, I myself had a thought:
“Uh-oh, the Old World’s about to get funkified!”
But let me back up, lest you miss some of the incredible synchronicity of this story.
First, the band shared their vision with our friend Paul Milner, a producer/engineer whose long list of credits includes Keith Richards and Eddy Grant. Through Paul, “Universal Soul” found its way to Germany and into the hands of Jimi Wunderlich, who was later responsible for signing LMT Connection to a distribution deal with Berlin-based label United One. Then by way of Jimi, LMT’s live album Outta Control found its way to Austria and into the hands of Hubert Moser, an agent/promoter from Salzburg. Site unseen, Hubert and his company Miracle Dread Productions took a chance on this unknown funk/soul/R&B trio from Canada and committed to booking dates across Germany and Austria.
In one cosmic minute, John, Leroy and Mark went from the studio to the airport, on their way to kick off the Universal Soul World Tour. It would be the first of six trips to Europe they would ultimately make between 2003 and 2005 to promote that release.
On November 15, 2003, on a stop in Krefeld, Germany at Jazzkellar, LMT Connection were introduced to producer King Brain, who at the time was working on a record with Chrissie Hynde that would eventually reach number 1 on two Billboard Music charts. Brain had come by to check out this funk band from Canada.
What? From Canada?
Now, since I’ve only known this group to be the institution in soul music that they truly are back home, this is obviously quite humorous to me. However, for a producer from Germany, I can see why that billing peaked his curiosity. And for those who have seen LMT Connection perform live, one would not be surprised that King Brain suggested they work together on their next recording.
Buzzing from the experience of their first “expedition” abroad, the band returned home with stories to tell and presents for the kids. From that point forward, making music would never again be ‘business-as-usual’ for one of the hardest working bands in the world. Not only were they still promoting “Universal Soul” but now plans were being made to start production on a new album.
In 2004, they returned to Europe twice, not only to support their budding fan base but to get reconnected with King Brain at his lab in Monchengladbach , Germany. Joining them on tour and in the first recording session was Leroy’s son Aja Emmanuel, adding his rhymes and youthful energy to the mix. Right from the start, it was clear LMT would be exploring new sonic territory. Up to that point, they had always approached production in the classic way, perfecting arrangements over time in front of an audience and using vintage gear and recording techniques. But Brain had a different idea. He wanted to re-interpret their vast experience and musicianship for the digital age. So while the band continued to play jazz clubs, split shows with funk deejays and heat up music festivals, King Brain had his eyes on the dance floor.
Now back in Toronto, Canada, agent/promoter Abby Tobias met the world-renowned Chops Horns while they were in town touring with Alicia Keys. Abby, one of LMT Connection’s most loyal supporters was certain there would be instant chemistry between these two musical forces and made the introduction. (There isn’t nearly enough space here to list their extensive credits, but it is sufficient to say that not only are Chops the original hip-hop horn section (Sugarhill Records) but they have also played with the P-Funk, The Police and most recently, Keys.)
Well, Abby’s hunch paid off and in 2005, Dave Watson (tenor and baritone saxophone, flute) and Darryl Dixon (alto saxophone, flute) contributed to the yet-untitled Brain production. The first session happened in Fanwood, New Jersey. Keeping with the spirit of the entire project, the Chops were given virtually no direction, allowing them to come up with their own greasy, rapid-fire arrangements in response to the protean future-funk they were hearing in their headphones for the first time.
Ever a thinking man, this collaboration got Hubert Moser’s wheels turning. By this point, LMT had been back to Europe five times, each trip making new fans and breaking more ground in the studio with King Brain. So what about a joint tour with the Chops Horns?
Yet another stroke of imagination…
This is the point of the story where I come in. Over the years, I had sat in a number of times on Hammond Organ with the band at their Wednesday night residency at the legendary Orbit Room in Toronto. In addition, I’d also contributed back-up vocals to the “Universal Soul” CD. When Mark invited me to be a part of their sixth tour of Europe, I naturally accepted. What musician would turn down the opportunity to share the stage nightly with five players of such caliber? I also learned we would all be going in the studio to finish tracking their new album.
Fall 2005: After a long flight and a maiden performance at the Roxy in Ulm, Germany, we got straight to work in Brain’s lab. It was then that I got a real glimpse of the method behind the all madness of the preceding two years. Brain was sampling them! Just as hip-hop producers lift bars from old records, he would send each musician into the room, record their streams of improvisation and assemble his favorite breaks and sections into a seamless groove. Then Leroy would let the lyrics just come to him and as quickly as they were composed, he’d get on the mic and lay them down in one take. Pure freestyle. I should mention all of this creativity was fueled by John’s fine cuisine, which endeared him to King Brain early in their relationship.
During this final tracking session, while free styling lyrics for the track with the same name, Leroy came up with the title for the album: Color Me Funky. (Yet again, more divine inspiration.) There we all were: black dudes, white dudes, Europeans, Canadians and Americans, speaking English, German and French. It was a multi-cultural, multi-national meeting of minds and music and we were united by one common cause: FUNK.
In closing, I could talk about the success of that tour in 2005. I could also wax poetically about the bonds of friendship that were forged. But instead, I’d rather meditate on the power of a thought. It’s truly amazing how one thought can set so many events in motion.
And if there is a band that understands how to make things move (you know, like people, speakers, walls, ceilings, foundations…) it’s LMT Connection.
If you would like to peek into the future of funk music, just press play.
“Sometime Later” Released in 1992
1. The Love I Once Knew2. Love and Things3. Things a Man Need4. Call My Name5. Sometime Later6. You Touched Me7. You Got the Love8. Time to Play a BluesTotal playing time 44:33
LMT Connection have become synonymous with fine R&B and quality musicianship. “Sometime Later” is their first studio effort, recorded in Detroit, and it’s a first class production all the way. Those who are only familiar with the band’s cover material are going to be quite surprised at the depth of the songwriting and the wide range of styles displayed here. From great, kick-ass R&B, such as “The Love I Once Knew” and “Call My Name”, to beautiful ballads like “Things A Man Need” (excellent track!) and “Sometime Later”, you’ll soon see that this band has so much more to offer. To their advantage, their music is also so totally different than anything anyone else is doing in this area, that these guys are pretty much in a class all by themselves. And yes they even managed to include Leroy’s spoons solo! A great album from a band who are definitely destined for bigger things.
Martin Murray – Pulse Magazine 1992