George Porter Jr., It’s Time to Funk (Independent)

Bassist George Porter Jr. is the link between generations of New Orleans schools of funk, a member of the Meters when that band codified the form in the late 1960s through the mid ’70s, then the Jedi master who initiated a whole new era of New Orleans funk from John Gros to Mark Mullins and Michael Lemmler via his Runnin’ Pardners Band.

Porter released this EP as a teaser for a future project during Jazz Fest.

It’s a collection of co-written songs, part of an ongoing series of collaborations that shows a lot of promise, if this is any indication.

The tracks are recorded with his Runnin’ Pardners band. “Nice Very Nice” is a sprightly Caribbean tune co-written with Lemmler, a tuneful jam vehicle that rides some cool bass riffs from Porter and a terrific slide solo from Brint Anderson. The lyrics of “Careful Who You Idolize” reflect the philosophic bent of co-writer Johnny Vidacovich, whose dense, allusive poetry is as elliptical as his unique drumming. The clever tune sounds a bit like a Steely Dan song, a different feel for Porter that works effectively.

“Talkin’ Bout My Old Friends” is a beautiful reminiscence of Porter’s glory days, from his start checking out the Dew Drop Inn “back in 1961” to his solo days “bringing back memories of Tipitina’s back in ’93.” Co-written with Anders Osborne, this tribute to some of those friends who aren’t around anymore features soulful saxophone work from Khris Royal.

The final track, “Let’s Dance,” written with Tony Hall and Denise Sullivan, is a booty-shaking anthem tailor made for the Pardners live show.