SOULIVE AND THE BLUE NOTE GROOVE

Thu 11.08.01 | Paradise Rock Club | Boston, MA

This past Thursday, Soulive played the first of two nights at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston. At this point in their career, there is no need to give an in depth introduction to Soulive, because they have become part of the national scene. Through the short life of this trio, these artists have established themselves in both Jazz and Jam-based circles. Nothing could be more evident of this acceptance than the major label deal the band has with Blue Note Records. Not to mention, a two-night stand at the Paradise is no small feat in Boston, a city with a highly competitive concert market.

As has been the case with Jazz music in general, record sales are not as substantial as pop records, but Doin Something has done well since its release less than a year ago on Blue Note. After taking on MMW, a move that finally grew album sales to match their ticket sales, Blue Note kept on recruiting fresh acts. The young crusaders of Blue Note include Charlie Hunter, St. Germain, Karl Denson, and many of the innovative and vibrant talents of the scene. Not to say that these folks weren’t major talents before their record deals, but now can get the national, and international audience, that is traditionally unachievable as an independent artist.

When the tight knit, sometimes subdued, trio took the stage on Thursday night, the crowd was immediately appreciative. By the end of the first tune, the place was hollering and jumping, ecstatic about the fantastic solos presented by organist Neal Evans, and guitarist Eric Krasno. Alan Evans pounded and crashed his way through the club on his drum kit, to create a vintage funk feel. Having had the pleasure of seeing these guys in small (acoustically unforgiving) settings, outdoor stages, and big rooms, Soulive consistently proves to bring a dynamic to any stage that is potent. When the band takes off, so does the crowd.

The crew began as a trio as usual, but soon that changed with the introduction of Sam Kininger, current saxophonist and collaborator on Doin Something. Alan announced that Sam was also featured on the upcoming album, set to be released in April. The set heated up and included mostly tracks from Doin Something. The overall vibe, cooling down considerably with some sax in the mix, heated back up to finish off the first set. Neal, who had been hopping up and down all set behind the Hammond B-3, caped it off with some Stevie-style acrobatics.

For whatever reason when Soulive returned to the stage for set two, Neal had Hammond organ failure. (Talking to the guys after the show, they said they had no idea what had happened to the organ.) Luckily everyone was all right, and the set continued with Neal at his keyboard, but one organ short. This incident brought Sam Kininger back to the stage and allowed them to jam with him for most of the set. Then half way through the set, two more guests, Charles Haines on Drums and Mark Kelly on Bass, were brought up to jam on the night’s biggest and best musical excursion, “Jesus Children.” Soulive has been doing this cover since they formed, but this is the biggest, craziest, most out there interpretation I have heard to date. Even with his Hammond out of commission, Neal used his keys to create some synthesized mayhem, and let Mark Kelly blow down the house with his bass licks. Finishing off the night with Alan back on his kit, and Charles Haines on the mic emceeing, they ripped up a short cover of “Sex Machine.”

This outfit has quickly risen to a level of success that it has earned every bit of. As musicians, Soulive performs at the top of their game, and surrounds themselves with those that strive to do the same. While each individual gig may have its highlights, Soulive is an accomplished in every aspect of their mission to create of music. To emphasize and reiterate a point, it is these young talents that raise the bar for the acts out there trying to make it in the scene.

Jeff Bergman
JamBase Boston Correspondent
Go See Live Music!

[Published on: 11/12/01]

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