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Guitar: Jeff Berman                     Violin/Composition: Julian Kantor
Saxophone: Michael Weiss        Trumpet/Composition: Mark Ziffer
Album Information:

Funkmasonry is a jazz/funk band based in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Their particular brand of jazz is infused with elements of funk, instrumental hip hop, and electronica.

From the infectious Latin jazz anthem “Summer Love” to the 5/4 electronica/rock jam “Kimta,” every song on Funkmasonry’s self-titled debut album has one element in common: a smooth, down-tempo groove you can’t help but nod your head to.

No matter the song, the often international and sometimes interplanetary sounds of Funkmasonry are rooted in the improvisational jazz tradition. Berman, Kantor, Weiss, and Ziffer all throw down and deliver energetic and virtuosic solos on their respective instruments. Behind the live instruments, Kantor and Ziffer provide gorgeous backbeats, each painstakingly composed and arranged from scratch.


The Storied Origins of Funkmasonry:

One fateful year, during a youthful excursion abroad, a group of three young musicians, Mark Ziffer, Michael Weiss, and Julian Kantor, stumbled upon ancient stone tablets while wandering the dusty streets of rural China. Putting his Far Eastern linguistic prowess to use, Weiss was able to decipher what became known as "The Way of the Funk." Through a careful scientific analysis, including carbon dating and handwriting evaluation, "The Way of the Funk" was attributed to Sun Tzu, also known for "The Art of War." Now considered to be Mr. Tzu's superior work, "The Way of the Funk" served as the founding principles of the musical family that came to be known as Funkmasonry.

With Kantor, Weiss and Ziffer serving as the founding fathers of Funkmasonry, they worked tirelessly to create sounds that could adequately convey the teachings of Sun Tzu in a magical art form that the world could enjoy. While Kantor and Ziffer engrossed themselves in their compositions and arrangements, Weiss sank into deep meditation, infusing the project with spirituality.

When the time came to record over the spacey, jazzy, hip-hoppy, funky, electric backbeats that had been produced with the live instruments of each member of Funkmasonry, the trio ran into a problem. Ziffer's rich, brassy horn, Weiss' smooth and sensual saxophone, and Kantor's vibrant, vivacious violin provided quite a bit of soul. However, the lessons brought forth in "The Way of the Funk" EXPLICITLY state that a guitar must be present in order to achieve "Funk to the Degree of Artemis Possum" (Tzu, p. 190-191). Therefore, the tenacious trio enlisted a fourth member, Jeffrey Berman, in order to lay down some soulful strumming.

The track names and album art all contain hidden references of spiritual significance, which only those deeply engrossed in the Funkmasonry mythos can truly comprehend. Suffice it to say, Sun Tzu would be proud.

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