From J Dilla to DC: The African Rhythms of Plunky, Oneness of Juju and Black Fire Records
“In the African philosophy, we judge music by its usefulness and function – how it serves the community.” – James “Plunky” Branch on Full Service Radio
Plunky & Oneness is one of the most enduring and versatile funk, jazz, Afro-fusion groups of all time. In 1975, the group released its African Rhythms album, on the Black Fire Music label, marking the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship with producer and label president, Jimmy Gray (father of DC producer/curator and Full Service Radio host Jamal Gray). In this special interview we chat with James “Plunky” Branch, Saxophonist of Oneness of Juju, about his history and the impact of this seminal record – which would go on to influence many musical movements to follow, and be famously reinterpreted by J Dilla.
Edited by Nat Weiner
Photo courtesy of James “Plunky” Branch