Candy Dulfer: We Never Stop

The Dutch saxophonist and Prince sideperson keeps the funk going in a high-octane collaboration with Nile Rodgers and Marcus Miller


Dutch saxophonist Candy Dulfer is not a household name in the UK, but many will remember her duelling saxophone solo with Dave Stewart on the hit single Lily Was Here. Others will know her as the funky saxophonist in Prince’s band. For the last couple of decades Dulfer has been an in-demand instrumentalist, working with artists such as Aretha Franklin, Van Morrison, Lionel Richie and many others.

This latest album sees her collaborating with Chic producer and songwriter Nile Rodgers as well as bassist Marcus Miller. Funk, rather than jazz, is Dulfer’s natural DNA; but her father (Hans Dulfer) is a respected jazz saxophonist and his work with Archie Shepp, Dexter Gordon and John McLaughlin would surely have left an impression.

However, jazz loses out to vintage funk in this fast-paced, high-octane outing. The influence of both Rodgers and Prince is so evident that at times you would be hard pressed not to think you were listening to the artists themselves.

Dulfer’s saxophone playing is compelling and creative but never overbearing or intrusive. There is full-on collaboration from Dulfer’s “rainbow family of a band”, where fun and funk go hand in glove. We Never Stop, Jammin Tonight and Yeah, Yeah, Yeah are the best of the bunch and are guaranteed to bring the house down. However, my favourite is the more soulful and contemplative Mo’ Seats At The Table.

Dulfer has released at least a dozen studio albums, and this is up there with her best.

Yeah Yeah Yeah; Mo’ Seats At The Table; Jammin Tonight; Deeper; Say Something; Raindrops; We Never Stop; The Walls; Perspective; Since I Found U; Afraid For More; No Time For This; The Climb; Convergency (77.30)
Dulfer (v, as); Nile Rodgers (g, v); Marcus Miller (b); Ulco Bed (arr, v), Ivan Peroti (v); Camilo Rodriquez (v); Russel Graham (v, kyb, b, d); Durand Bernarr (t, kyb, B3); Jan Van Duikeren (t); Kick Woudstra (d); Philippe Saisse (b); Xander Buvelo (d). Candy’s Place Amsterdam, Hard Rock Hotel Amsterdam, Rottsound Studio Rotterdam, Studio Het Gemengd Bedrijf Limmen and Wisseloord Studios Hilversum. No dates given.