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Turn It Out

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Album Review

Soulive is a tightly knit unit, a feature that is evident in their sound. Alan Evans plays the drums here, his brother Neal Evans plays the Hammond B-3 organ, and colleague Eric Krasno delivers the electric guitar. Velour Records, the New York City start-up, has a bright future ahead of itself if it continues to support projects like Turn It Out, Soulive's debut full-length release. There are two things that should make Soulive an enduring and popular group: they look great and they sound great. Paying homage to the jazz and funk groups who helped to influence and form their musical character, Soulive appears on stage in slick, dark suits and with cool demeanors, assuring the audience that they're about to give a show to remember. The band executes their songs with a cohesion often heard in other forms of jazz like bebop, but with a confidence and fervor for the funk that allows their music to groove and swing. The Hammond B-3 sound that Neal Evans provides will make fans of Jimmy Smith, Ruben Wilson, and John Patton smile, while Eric Krasno's style will delight fans of George Benson and Grant Green. All of the songs on this album are originals, except for their interpretation of Stevie Wonder's "Jesus Children," given a Soulive flair in arrangement. The remainder of the songs were either written by all three of the group's members or individually. Four of the songs featured on Turn It Out were recorded at live performances and sound pretty good except for one aspect that's lacking in each of the songs: a strong drum presence. Hip-hop is another unquestionable influence on Soulive that the listener would be able to perceive if the drums were more prominent in the mixes of these songs. Despite this, each of these songs has solid appeal.

Soulive explores their tender capacities on cuts like "Azucar" (written by Neal Evans) and "Arruga de Agua" (written by Eric Krasno). The unique rhythm accents in "Arruga" coupled with the very lyrical and dexterous playing of Eric Krasno on guitar, make this song one of the album's standouts. It is joined by the likes of "So Live" and the title track, whose organ solos hit the target through Neal Evans' use of the pedal tone, creating suspense and excitement. Also of note are guest appearances by Oteil Burbridge on bass for "So Live" and tenor sax man Sam Kininger on "Rudy's Way."

Soulive masterfully embraces a retro-modern thing that makes you wish other artists would refer to their musical predecessors for inspiration. Alan Evans plays the drum kit with all the force infused in his body by hip-hop culture; Eric Krasno speaks volumes with his electric guitar; Neal Evans reminds you of what an organ virtuoso sounds like; and together, they are Soulive, so live! ~ Qa'id Jacobs, Rovi


Formed: 1999 in Buffalo, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Brothers Alan and Neal Evans, on drums and Hammond B-3 organ, respectively, form two-thirds of the soul/groove trio Soulive. Rounding out the group is Eric Krasno on guitar. The band was formed in the late '90s when all three members were under 25. However, each already had a substantial background in the jam band scene. Alan and Neal are former members of Moon Boot Lover, and Alan also played with the Greyboy Allstars. Krasno founded the super-funky Lettuce, a wildly popular Boston-based band. ...
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Turn It Out, Soulive
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