The Apples are a nine-piece band from Tel Aviv, Israel playing a unique style of global funk, soul and instrumental hip hop that’s equally influenced by middle eastern music, James Brown, dub and J Dilla. Cool instrumentation: four horns, bass violin, drum kit, two turntablists and live effects at the soundboard (no digital samplers or digital anything) is a great configuration for their clever writing (for example, “In The Air” is a composition that grows out of a sample from the Meters-Toussaint-Lee Dorsey classic “Occapella”) and groove-based improvisations. On this release (their second for Freestyle), they collaborate with two disparate musical giants: trombonist Fred Wesley (tracks 1-4), famous for his work with both James Brown and George Clinton, and vocalist Shlomo Bar (tracks 5-8), whose band HaBrera HaTeevit was a pioneer of world music in Israel. This band is new to me and I’m totally impressed – big ideas plus funky grooves plus killer horn lines and solos equals a totally Global A Go-Go concept. Bravo!