The Sugarman Three is a retro-funk jazz unit that caramelizes its sugar over a high flame. Their latest release, “Pure Cane Sugar,” is their best album yet. Track two, “Take It As It Come” could be mistaken for a long-lost James Brown-Jimmy Smith collaboration. It’s that good. Sugarman Three’s sound has been called “deep funk,” but “hard funk” fits just as well. They resurrect the intense grooves of early-’60s R&B, soul, jazz and funk, blend them, and cook up tasty music.

Bandleader Neal Sugarman did time with funk outfits in New Orleans, then returned to New York to bring together Brother Jack McDuff’s drummer Rudy Albin, Hammond B-3 whiz Adam Scone and guitarist Al Street, whose playing makes it seem as if he sat through every session recorded at the famed Muscle Shoals R & B recording studio.

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