**** “RHYTHM KILLERS.” Sly and Robbie. Island. On their last album, “Language Barrier,” Jamaican drummer Sly Dunbar and bassist Robbie Shakespeare--who have worked with a diverse range of artists including Black Uhuru, Grace Jones and Bob Dylan--seemed serious about demonstrating the breadth of their musical prowess. Too serious.
This time the fun is as whoppingly big as the beat, resulting in one of the most stunning albums of funk--or just about any style--this year. With a cast that includes Funkadelic alum Bootsy Collins and turntable artist D.S.T., Sly and Robbie have squeezed onto one slab of vinyl the best of the past 20 years of funk, from Sly & the Family Stone through George Clinton, along the way throwing in reggae, rap and even a bit of Rossini.