Pioneers of funk fDeluxe will be dishing out a double dose of soul on Sept. 7 for two performances (7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.) at the Dakota Jazz Club. With deep roots in Minneapolis, fDeluxe is the second coming of the Family, a band created by Prince in the ’80s.
Morris Day’s departure from the Time in 1984 left Prince in search of a songwriting outlet. Rounding up remaining members St. Paul Peterson, Jellybean Johnson, and Jerome Benson; his then-fiancee, Susannah Melvoin; and his tour manager’s brother, Eric Leeds, this diverse array of performers formed a powerhouse ensemble: the Family.
Despite their musical chemistry, the group disbanded merely one year later after a single sold-out show at First Avenue. Although their career was fleeting, the Family’s self-titled album produced the Top 10 R&B hit “Screams of Passion” and the first recording of “Nothing Compares 2 U,” a song written by Prince that later became a #1 hit for Sinéad O’Connor.
After 26 years in silence, Melvoin, Peterson, Leeds, and Johnson reemerged in 2011 as fDeluxe, sparking a “redefined, new alternative funk era.” Their self-produced album Gaslight was met with international acclaim.
“Prince went in and was the author of this book, we were the characters that played out these parts,” Melvoin explained in an interview with SoulMusic. “But we never got to finish the story, so that’s part of what we’re doing here is that we have—as the characters in this book—we’ve taken the book and finished it, although the author of this is definitely Prince. He started this; this is his, the beginning story of it.”
Their most recent releases include this year’s Live & Tight—a live recording featuring tracks from The Family and Gaslight albums—and studio album AM Static.
fDeluxe will be joined by renowned blues guitarist Eric Gales, who has collaborated with Carlos Santana, Billy Cox, and Buddy Miles; and recently toured with Lauryn Hill.
Selena Carlson is currently tackling a double major in journalism and music business at Augsburg College. In addition to writing, she is an avid enthusiast of all things banjo; biking; and breakfast for dinner.