Sal’s Greenhouse Cultivates a Magnificent ‘Bloom’
You know, when a band promotes itself as a “8-piece powerhouse funk collective,” you sincerely hope they can back that up. We would like to suggest that Sal’s Greenhouse, out of Oakland, have the receipts. Their new EP, Bloom, released March 27, is dynamite, produced by Justin Stanley and is on Color Red, the great record label founded by Eddie Roberts of The New Mastersounds.
Sally Green, the band’s leader, sent a demo to Stanley, and together they have put together a monster. She describes what transpired next:
“I sent Justin Stanley my self-produced demo in December 2018, with no expectations of getting a response, and by May we were tracking in his studio ‘Stella Sound’ in North Hollywood! He is an incredibly kind, & humble guy who has such a strong grasp on vintage sound, so it was a dream to work with him. He is very spontaneous in his approach, which added excitement to the process. The opportunity to work with someone of Justin’s expertise is immeasurable. He’s worked with literally the best. Prince, Leonard Cohen, Paul McCartney, Beck, Jamie Lidell, Sheryl Crow, did I mention Prince? There’s much, much more, but for me, the most important collaboration he has done is with his wife, Nikka Costa. He produced/co-wrote her album Pebble to a Pearl among many others, but specifically, this album is in my top 3 as most influential. We are so lucky to have worked with him on this EP. It’s unique and warm, and really reflects who we are as a band today. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have built that relationship & friendship with Justin through my music. It’s just incredible.”
Sal’s Greenhouse are: Sally Green, baritone sax, vocals; Erico Cisneros, bass; Craig Schneider, keyboards; Hassan Hurd, drums; Cam Perridge, guitar; Michael Wynar, guitar; Olivia Ruff, vocals; and Chris Brown, trumpet. Their debut album The Constant came out in 2016. They also have several singles on their website.
“4 Ever” is one of the hottest tracks in ages, light years beyond the drek on the radio. This is funky electronica pop, or something, just smokin’ from the very first second. It might make you think of Boom Box and Orgōne and, well, it’s infectious. The percussion drives the track, awash in synths and some great trumpet from Chris Brown. Sally Green handles lead vocals and all the backing voices on the recording.
There is a slower tempo on “All That I Need,” the funky syncopation making the song pulse with drums and Erico Cisneros’ bass. The guitars of Cam Perridge and Michael Wynar appear, followed by Green’s sultry voice, backing vocals again magic. The brass section — Green on baritone and Brown on trumpet — provides accents here.
“What” is straight-up gorgeous Afrobeat, infectious once again. The guitars are perfect, and Craig Schneider gives his clavinet a workout. This is the lone instrumental on the EP, and Green and Brown do this genre justice. Schneider has a solo on electric piano, next brief turns by drums and then bass.
The group returns to deep funk on “Tight Ship.” The horns are hot, and for the first time there is a blistering guitar solo. Clavinet and rhythm section truly funk this up.
“Hope” is funked-up rock, or maybe rocked-out funk. Either way, it is a fitting close to the EP. Guitar and backing vocals stand out, as do Green’s vocals throughout.
Sal’s Greenhouse has created a wonderful Bloom!