BEST BAND TO LEAVE THE TWIN CITIES IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS (1999)
After releasing a funky lip-smack of a sophomore R&B album, Play, Vanguard's core members Scott Ruffner and Ian Jones relocated to Manhattan last year to start a record label (TVP Records) and a production company. Ruffner and Jones still periodically revisit their home turf to reunite with their old, full-funk ensemble, reminding us why their decade-galloping funk mischief is so missed. The 'guard play '70s dirty bass and '90s radio soul with equal aplomb, breaking new ground with their song-oriented approach, if not their familiar source material. The results still find favor with the college kids on the West Bank and the upscale weekenders in the Quest. And no band has stepped up to the plate to whack an audience not quite jazzy enough for Greazy Meal nor mellow enough for Best Kept Secret.