Brooklyn Funk Essentials were born out of New York's buzzing hip-hop-jazz and slam poetry scenes of the early nineties. Originally conceived by Arthur Baker and Lati Kronlund as a series of studio jam sessions, the group soon turned into a 12-piece live outfit consisting of some of the finest young musicians, singers, rappers, dub poets and djs the Big Apple had to offer. Original members included Lati Kronlund (bass and band leader), Hanifah Walidah (aka Sha-key), Joi Cardwell, Papa Dee and Stephanie McKay (vocals), Everton Sylvester and David Allen (dub poetry), Josh Roseman (trombone), Bob Brockmann (trumpet), Paul Shapiro (sax & flute), Yancy Drew and Tony Allen (drums), E.J. Rodriguez and Danny Sadownic (percussion), Desmond Foster (guitar), ATN Stadwijk and Yuka Honda (keys), Bill Ware (vibes) and djs Jazzy Nice and Smash on turntables.
The debut album Cool & Steady & Easy (1994/95) also featured prominent guests like Maceo Parker, The Tower Of Power Horns, Michigan & Smiley and even Dizzy Gilespie. It was first released by renown UK label Dorado in Europe, but was soon picked up by RCAs Groovetown imprint for the US and the rest of the world. The first single a funky reggae-inspired reworking of Pharoah Sanders classic The Creator Has A Master Plan became an instant hit reaching the Top 20s. The album also featured songs like Big Apple Boogaloo, Take The L Train, Dilly Dally and A Headnaddas Journey To The Planet Adidi Skizm, all of which became classics of the genre. The popular album cut 'Bop Hop' was featured in a Nike commercial.
Apart from being regulars at New Yorks buzzing club scene, BFE began touring the world marking highlights in the company of acts like Parliament Funkadelic, The Roots, James Brown, Jamiroquai, Spearhead and Ben Harper. One of these tours found the group headlining the Fuji World Music Festival in Istanbul, Turkey. The reception was so great that BFE recorded their second album there with 11 Turko-Romanian folk musicians - Laço Tayfa. The result was 1998s In The BuzzBag, which became a milestone in collaborative projects and earned BFE a Grammy nomination. It also escalated the group to a stadium capacity act in Turkey.