Have you heard the MJ’S? They play old-school soul and funk, and they’ll be playing a free gig in the patio behind Arlin’s Saturday from 10pm to 2am. Every time the MJ’S play Arlin’s they draw an enthusiastic crowd of old fans and new converts, and it makes it all the sweeter that the show will be outdoors.
It’s tough to find a weak link the MJ’S. Along with being a good singer, lead vocalist Ronnie J Foster is a convincing front man. Justin Hall is a versatile guitarist who wowed us the last time out with his rendition of Funkadelic’s psychedelic opus, “Maggot Brain.” Keyboardist Joel (Razor Sharp) Johnson has worked extensively with Bootsy Collins, bass player Mark Becker finds deep funk grooves wherever the music roams…and since the MJ’S have been juggling drummers, I’ll hold off there.
Highlights from the band’s most recent Arlin’s show included a rendition of Sly Stone’s “If You Want Me to Stay” that included a keyboard solo by Razor Sharp that took me back to the days when funk ruled the planet. Razor Sharp made a cameo appearance at the Bernie Worrell show that took place at the Blue Wisp a few weeks back, and since that night I’ve wanted to post footage that I took of the show. The concert was great, and what it made so memorable was the long list of soul and funk musicians from this area who joined Bernie Worrell that evening. Among other things, that show served a reminder of Cincinnati’s great soul and funk legacy—and the fact that the story is still unfolding….