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Jazz - Released January 1, 2011 | Blue Note Records

For their third album for Blue Note, Soulive decided to record their winter 2002 tour, attempting to capture the spark that makes them such a popular touring band, and to that extent, they're largely successful. This is a tight unit, consisting of Eric Krasno on guitar, Alan Evans on drums, and brother Neal Evans on Hammond organ and clavinet as well as playing the bass parts on a keyboard or with foot pedals. The tunes are mostly up-tempo, soul-jazz groove jams that leave plenty of space for Krasno and Neal Evans as soloists. The crisp production captures the band nicely, but some of the fadeouts could have been handled a little better. The band is hot, and plays great, but stumbles slightly at the end. Stevie Ray Vaughan's beautiful "Lenny" suffers from an overly long intro and is played such that the melody is subverted and all that remains are the chord changes. "Turn It Out" brings them back to form but degenerates into an audience chant-along that surely should have been edited out. Soulive has all the elements fans are looking for, but a little trimming would have made for a stronger album. © Sean Westergaard /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2001 | Blue Note Records

On paper -- and on-stage -- a grooving jazz trio with a guitarist, drummer, and Hammond organist who hammers bass notes with his feet and left hand sounds like a great idea. Indeed, Soulive (keyboardist Neal Evans, guitarist Eric Krasno, and drummer Alan Evans) is one of the fledgling rising stars on the jam band circuit, covering great tunes like Stevie Wonder's "Jesus Children of America," the Isley Brothers' "It's Your Thing," and War's "The World Is a Ghetto." But great live bands have been trying to figure out the formula to translate their concert performances into the recording studio for decades, and Soulive's 2001 CD, Doin' Something, comes up short. The trio employs guests musicians à la another jazz-meets-funk trio, Medeski, Martin & Wood, but early tracks like "Hurry Up...and Wait," "Evidence," and "One in Seven" have an un-funky sameness. Funk trombone legend Fred Wesley ensures that the title track, "Bridge o 'Bama," and "Joe Sample" fare better, but vocalist Stephanie McKay's inclusion on eight of the 11 cuts seems like a stab at commercial smooth jazz. The Evans brothers and Krasno are all talented players, with collective influences including Herbie Hancock, Elvin Jones, and Grant Green. Yet all come across as trying to play it safe on Doin' Something, in stark contrast to some of their unbridled live sets. Krasno is the primary composer, yet should take a page out of the songbook of another of his influences, John Scofield. About halfway into Doin' Something, you know exactly what to expect -- something Scofield has become a legend by avoiding. © Bill Meredith /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2005 | Blue Note Records

Collecting the jam bandy instrumental funksters Soulive is a great idea, since most people with passing interest in music know someone "way into them" and have probably come across a glowing review of their live shows. Then there's problem of whether you start with a live album or a studio album or a remix album or an album with plenty of guest spots. Steady Groovin' gives the newbie a smattering of them all, plus a couple numbers you won't acquire when you succumb to their Hammond organ-based funk and head back to the record store. The breezy and freewheeling "All Up in It" comes from the band's guest spot on DJ Spinna's Here to There, while the band's cover of Stevie Wonder's "Golden Lady" was only available on the Japanese edition of Soulive's Doin' Something. These are great bonuses, and what the compilers chose to represent the band's regular albums is pleasing, too. You get a taste of Soulive's live show, a bit of the band's work with Fred Wesley, and a touch of cerebral hip-hop courtesy of Roots member Black Thought. All that said, their traditional albums have a lot of thought put into the overall flow, but as an intro or portable sampler, Steady Groovin' succeeds. © David Jeffries /TiVo
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Funk - Released September 14, 2010 | Royal Family Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2002 | Blue Note Records

On a mission to update the jazz organ tradition, Soulive maintains a tight groove throughout Next. Their approach involves narrowing the creative options, then turning up the heat within the confined space they allow themselves. Where drummers in old-school jazz organ groups played freely around the backbeat, Soulive's Alan Evans never misses the two and four. His brother Neal Evans imposes similar restrictions on himself by staying with essentially the same timbre on organ -- a thin, steamy sound, with a crisp percussive bite -- while Eric Krasno cultivates a shallow blues/jazz tone on guitar. A bone-dry production highlights this constriction, where every note and snare hit crackles in high definition. The songwriting is limited as well to riff-driven tunes with minimal melodic content. That leaves performance as the wild card, and here Soulive doesn't fail. From the relaxed pace of "Nay Nay" to the sprint clip of the Headhunters-flavored "Whatever It Is," the band demonstrates an almost frightening command of nuance in its rhythmic interplay and antiseptic articulation. On instrumental tracks, as well as when backing raps on "Clap!" and "Bridge To Bama" or moaning bedroom vocals on " Don't Know," Soulive makes a strong case on Next for consideration as the hottest rhythm unit of the moment. © Robert L. Doerschuk /TiVo
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Acid Jazz - Released November 23, 2009 | Freestyle Records

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Funk - Released October 12, 2009 | Royal Family Records

Soul - Released January 1, 2002 | Velour Records

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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 /TiVo
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Funk - Released February 2, 2010 | Royal Family Records

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Jazz Fusion & Jazz Rock - Released December 28, 2004 | Pirate Records

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Jazz Fusion & Jazz Rock - Released December 28, 2004 | Pirate Records

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Soul - Released January 1, 2007 | Concord Records

No Place Like Soul is Soulive's seventh full-length (eight if you count the remixed Turn It Out), and the band's debut for Concord's then-recently birthed Stax label. The longstanding instrumental trio has reinvented itself by adding a fourth member in vocalist Toussaint from Boston (former frontman of the reggae outfit China Band). On Breakout, the band used guest vocalists such as Chaka Khan, Ivan Neville, and Corey Glover to further diversify its sound, but Toussaint (son of a Baptist preacher and former church choir leader) is an equal member of the ensemble. The sound is gritty, nasty, and pumped up on most of the set's 13 cuts. While Soulive had matured in their previous incarnation perhaps as far as they were going to, the addition of a permanent singer finds them back in the cradle, learning how to rebalance their sound with an additional wheel. The results are mixed, and that's not a bad thing at all. While it roars out of the gate with the funk-drenched "Waterfall" with Eric Krasno's guitar dirtying up the joint, it's rooted more in the nastiness of Southern soul than Funkadelic. Where the vocal dredges up the grit and grease and meets the organ fills, organic breaks, and wah-wah guitar head on "Don't Tell Me," the volume (and adrenaline) rush is less effective, however, with the band's shoddy backing vocals and the instrumental rave-up so full-on it nearly feels like an organ playing with Living Colour and a different vocalist. It's got a stuttered rock-cum-New Orleans groove that feels stilted by the production, though it might work well live. But that's the only truly misguided moment here. "Mary" works well as a ballad, with a Spooner Oldham-Dan Penn feel, and Toussaint's vocal is flawless. The B-3 swells are in the pocket rhythmically, and Krasno's blend of electric and acoustic guitars accent the vocals beautifully. But it's Alan Evans' drum kit that gives the tune its teeth. The tough funk angle works best on tracks such as "Comfort," while a deeply Jimi Hendrix-influenced vibe fuels the wildly infectious instrumental cut "Outrage." The blend of funky breaks, fat bassline, atmospheric B-3, and Krasno's killer guitar work takes this cut up into the realms of Soulive's very best material. The slow midnight funk of "Mornin' Light" features Rashawn Ross' spare but effective trumpet lines filling the space between the bubbling dub-drenched Neal Evans bassline and Toussaint's ragged vocal, which is accented by the band's backing chorus and handclaps, giving it a gospel-esque "Wade in the Water" feel -- the church meets the club under a Caribbean moon. By contrast, "Yeah Yeah" is decidedly more urban, feeling more like Black Nasty with all male vocals. It's got the P-Funk-Ohio Players groove down, though its decidedly more skeletal production gives the tune its own identity. The dub reggae flavoring here mostly works very well, especially when it's combined with the band's other strong rhythmic elements, as on "If This World Were a Song" (though Toussaint's a bit over the top in his Bob Marley phrasing, without having the same crooning vocal strength). The Minneapolis by way of Lenny Kravitz-inflected vocal soul on "Never Know" wears a bit thin as well. The other instrumental here, "Bubble," is a spaced out bit of dub-strumental rockist funk. It meanders a bit and that's a good thing, since its rhythmic lines are so pronounced and its keyboard melody so robotic. The album ends with a beautiful ballad called "Kim" (written by Evans), easily among the best cuts on the disc. The drifting cosmic guitar that is equal part Shuggie Otis and Jimi Hendrix melds beautifully with Evans' lead vocal. The man can sing a ballad, and its lithe, languid melodic six-string lines are kissed with a limber bassline and a solid backbone snare and bass tom line; with all that B-3 swirling in the backdrop, it's psychedelic soul that's both pretty and tough. If there is a problem with No Place Like Soul, it's simply the same one that has been present since Soulive started recording: they do many things very well, and these are all ambitious musicians. Therefore, they can overreach, losing some focus on the whole while trying to get the individual parts right. That only happens in a couple of places here, and as a result, this is the band's most diverse and compelling project in a long time. There's no pose here; there's ambition and creativity and soul to spare. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz Fusion & Jazz Rock - Released August 10, 2004 | Pirate Entertainment

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Funk - Released March 22, 2011 | Royal Family Records

Soul - Released January 1, 2002 | Velour Records

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Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Johnny Hammond, and John Patton have all been at the core of some of the legendary organ groups in the history of jazz, and it's time for the history books to make room for another group of truly talented musicians focused around that wonderful, warm, and expressive instrument. Soulive is considered an organ trio with Neal Evans playing the Hammond B-3 (usually through, the miraculous and luscious Leslie Speaker Cabinet), his brother Alan Evans on the drums, and compatriot Eric Krasno on the electric guitar. Get Down is Soulive's introductory EP effort and was recorded in March of 1999 at the Soulive Studios in New York City. The group happens to be based out of Vermont, but they've traveled and played so extensively around the country that they hesitate to identify themselves with any one particular geographic location. There's lots to say about Soulive, a lot of which is evident upon hearing the five selections featured on Get Down Not content with simply invoking musical themes similar to those created in part by the originators mentioned above, Soulive can take you back to the heyday of jazz when it was all about "the sound, man, dig the sound." These cats can really play, and they've achieved a balance amongst themselves that makes it a stretch to call this an organ trio -- they're just a hot trio. And while it is easy to say that they produce a sound similar to that of a Jimmy Smith or a John Patton, these three feature a modern sound rooted in hip-hop that none of the aforementioned legends could logistically claim. With the combination of their musical talent and their unique and modern style, this is a strong album that whets your appetite for more Soulive. © Qa'id Jacobs /TiVo
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Funk - Released April 14, 2009 | Royal Family Records

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Soul - Released January 1, 2007 | Concord Records

Hip-Hop/Rap - Released January 1, 2003 | Velour Records

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Few of the DJs and producers onboard are able to correct Soulive's polite dinner-music tendencies on Turn It Out Remixed. As a result, the disc will only appeal to a small percentage of the group's dedicated followers. Me'Shell NdegéOcello, the Beatnuts, J-Live, DJ Spinna, two-fifths of Jurassic 5, and a small cast of lesser-knowns are present; the majority of these people are able to cast a grittier and more lively coating on Soulive's sound, but most of the attempts are for nought. You still get the feeling that the group is best experienced in a live setting. The remix of "Nealization" is one of the more bizarre cuts -- who could've predicted that an acid squiggle and a John Scofield guitar line would ever appear on the same track? © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Jazz Fusion & Jazz Rock - Released December 28, 2004 | Pirate Records