with Con Brio Its been more than 20 years since Ben Ellman, Robert Mercurio, Stanton Moore, Jeff Raines and Rich Vogel began exploring the seemingly limitless musical possibilities born out of their work together as Galactic. Since then, the seminal New Orleans band has consistently pushed artistic boundaries on the road and in the studio, approaching their music with open ears and drawing inspiration as much from the sounds bubbling up from their citys streets as they do from each other.A key part of that creative spark comes from the teamwork of Mercurio and Ellman, whose ever-evolving production and arranging skills helped usher the band into a new phase of studio work beginning with the loop-centric Ruckus in 2007. A series of albums focused around specific concepts like Carnival followed, as did collaborations with guests hailing from worlds outside the one Galactic calls its own.On Into the Deep, the band members look within themselves instead, drawing inspiration from people and ideas that have long been close to their hearts and, in turn, close to the development of their unique sound. Shot through with soul, funk, blues and rock, the result is an organic riff on elements of Galactics past, filtered through the lens of where theyre headed in 2015. I see this album as a kind of culmination of all of our collaborations or experiences, from [trombonist] Corey Henry to the people we met on the road, touring, says Mercurio, referencing Ellmans first full-time gig in New Orleans, which kicked off when Henry hired him into the Little Rascals Brass Band in 1989. The previous albums took us in the opposite direction, Mercurio says. We collaborated with rappers that we had never dealt with and even on the New Orleans tracks, we didnt have working experience with most of those artists before the recordings.In contrast, Into the Deep contributors like JJ Grey, David Shaw and Maggie Koerner spent significant time touring with Galactic. A few years ago, Mavis Staples
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