Category Archives: Tony Allen

Anatomy of THE Groove: “Bodytalk” by Cerrone

Marc Cerrone was right up there with Giorgio Moroder in terms of popularizing the Euro Disco sub-genre of music. His 1977 song “Supernature” essentially got the modern EDM genre started the same year as Moroder’s “I Feel Love”,performed by Donna Summer. The French born but Italian raised Cerrone was playing drums just before he entered adolescence. He was deeply interested in American soul,funk and rock music from artists such as Otis Redding-and later in the 60’s Jimi Hendrix,Santana and Blood,Sweat & Tears. This meant that his understanding of rhythm was off to a great start.

His first gig as a musician came as part of the psychedelic soul group Kongas. Their music became part of the underground  psych/soul/rock  sound that really got  DJ’s spinning  records in dance clubs. This helped initiated the early disco scene. After that,he went on to record at least a couple dozen albums between 1976 to present. These ranged in sound from disco,electro pop to hardcore funk. His most recent recording is an EP called  Afro. This features collaborations with African musicians such as Manu Dibango and former Fela Kuti band mate Tony Allen. The song that  got my attention on it is called “Bodytalk”.

Darting synth brass starts off the song with a heavy 2 by 2 beat drum kick. Cerrone keeps the 4/4 beat going with some thick percussion accents most of the way along. The main rhythm of the consists of a thick interaction between a churning rhythm guitar, a ultra funky bass line as well as keyboard parts consisting of a filtered Clavinet and Fender Rhodes. The horns act as the backing vocals to the melody. The bridge of the song really brings up the drums with the hard grooving slap bass soloing. That dynamic comes into play on the Afro Latin percussive part that leads back into the fade out of the main chorus.

Cerrone is dealing with some serious,live band oriented post disco/boogie funk of the highest order here. Musically it has a sleek production atmosphere,a very hummable melody but most importantly some heavily funkified rhythmic instrumentation. It reminds me of a Brass Contruction record from the mid to late 70’s in that regard. What my friend Henrique calls funk functioning as disco. It’s a wonderful thing to see how Marc Cerrone here has taken his intrumentality as a drummer and maintained his focus on hard driving,funky rhythms in his music into the 2010’s.

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Filed under 2016, Afro-Cuban rhythm, Boogie Funk, Cerrone, clavinet, disco funk, drums, Fender Rhodes, Manu Dibango, percussion, post disco, rhythm guitar, slap bass, Tony Allen