Funkasaurus Rex was created by Joey in 2005. Joey called upon a group of colleagues, top players on the NY “music-scene” to form this exciting jazz-funk band which injects “Jazz” sophistication into ‘Rhythm ‘n Blues’ and ‘Funk’. Whether bringing classic songs from the past into a new era with a jazz perspective, or introducing an original song from that same lineage, the band’s focus is always inventive writing, great solos and precision ensemble work.

Maintaining artistic integrity, audiences have come to expect quality as the key.  A well-loved classic or a classy original, these veteran musicians bring authentic funk into the present with power, precision and sophistication. Featuring a huge five-member horn-section “sound” along with a tight rhythm-section “groove” Funkasaurus Rex says REAL Funky Music ain’t extinct!

Joey Berkley – Tenor Sax/Arranger/Composer
Bill Harris – Alto Sax/Flute
Tony Kadleck – Trumpet
Brian Pareschi – Trumpet
Jens Wendelboe – Trombone
John Tropea – Guitar/Arranger
Chris Coogan – Keyboards
Seth Glassman – Bass
Chris Parker – Drums/Arranger/Composer

For a change of pace, Funkasaurus Rex features Berkley exclusively on tenor sax, and with a bigger band. On Etched in Stone, he funks up some classic soul and R&B hits.

“But It’s Alright” begins the set. Seth Glassman’s electric bass line is a highlight, as well as John Tropea’s guitar solo. Other musicians also contribute trumpet and saxophone solos. An all-out horn section blast climaxes the song before it reverts to the primary theme.

Tropea leads the verses on the “Can’t Hide Love.” The horns give it an Earth Wind & Fire meets Tower of Power feel. Chris Parker’s tom rolls help emphasize the bridge between chorus and verse. Bill Harris performs a David Sanborn-like alto sax solo that’s punctuated heavily by bass, drums and the other horns. Chris Coogan solos on keyboard, followed by Berkley on tenor sax. After another run-through of the verse, Tropea stretches out. The rest of the band slowly transitions into the chant that closes EW&F’s original recording while the guitar ad-libs.

Joey Berkley wears many different musical hats: Tenor saxophonist (with “no end of idiomatic facility,” enthuses The Toronto Globe & Mail); leader of the Four Good Reeds saxophone quartet; leader of the straight-ahead, acoustic Joey Berkley Quartet; and, for the past five years, leader of the horn-stoked soul-funk nonet Funkasaurus Rex, whose collective credits include Miles Davis, James Brown, and the Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey, and Duke Ellington orchestras.

On Etched in Stone (which was on the 2009 Grammy ® nomination entry list in FIVE different categories), Funkasaurus Rex stomp and rip through several varieties of classic ’70s soul in tunes originally written and performed by soulful rock ‘n’ rollers (John Fogerty’s “Proud Mary”), soulful jazz players (Les McCann ‘s “Samia”), and soul chart-toppers such as Earth Wind & Fire and The Spinners.

John Tropea nails each tune down with guitar hooks so tight and mighty—even though they can sometimes sound lost in the swell of multiple horns—that they provide the pivot point from which these songs swing. Tropea and drummer Chris Parker whipcrack “But It’s Alright” (by J.J. Jackson, who worked as an arranger for Jack McDuff and Jimmy Witherspoon while laboring to launch his own singing career), and you just can’t lay a melody down more sweetly in the pocket than Tropea in “Can’t Hide Love,” which smartly showcases the guitarist’s bop licks as the first solo, and Chris Coogan’s electric tribute to pianist Ramsey Lewis (one of Maurice White’s most trusted collaborators) as the second. But, my, how these horns blow! Berkley’s tenor sweetly reaches out for the spirit of Eddie Harris to counterpoint his arrangement of McCann’s “Samia.” “P.M.S.” (“Proud Mary Suite”?) opens in a slow big-band movement, then crashes through several wild moods (including a piano that plays “I Got Rhythm” then proceeds to tear that rhythm down) until you can barely see Fogerty’s original left in the distance behind you. It all closes in a celebration of Berkley’s “Mighty Love” for soul music that honors not only the sound of The Spinners but The Sound of Philadelphia, too. Etched in Stone carves out a magical intersection of soul, jazz, blues, and funk styles, and is one of those party-time blowing sessions that seems to rock your house just a little bit harder on a Saturday night.