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Soulive | Features



It was spring of 1999, Drummer Alan Evans and his organist brother Neal invited guitarist Eric Krasno to come up to their house in Woodstock, NY, to cut some tracks in their home studio. They had a simple idea – bring jazz back to the dance floor. In the years since, their blend of soul, jazz and hip-hop has done exactly that, attracting throngs of fans around the world and the respect of musicians from every genre. They called their idea Soulive.

Right away it was clear that there was something magical about Soulive and the band’s style of music. They played retro instruments and wore vintage suits. The sound was anything but old, however. The beats were hard and funky, and the bass shook the club. The melodies were soulful and memorable. And, it caught on. Within a year of coming together, the trio was playing in front of large audiences at sell-out concerts across the United States, and had signed a deal with Blue Note Records. From there, they went on the road with the Dave Matthews Band, The Rolling Stones, The Roots, India.aire, and recorded two highly acclaimed studio albums.

SouliveNow, after three long years of touring, writing and recording, Soulive is back with Break Out, the band’s debut release for the Concord Music Group. With it, Alan, Neal and Eric deliver their most creative, crafted and cathartic recording to date.

Soulive has evolved significantly from the bands last recording. Gone are the suits and the extended jams. In their places are beat-driven instrumentals and dazzling collaborations with a host of inspiring artists, including Chaka Khan, Ivan Neville, Corey Glover(Living Color), Robert Randolph, and Reggie Watts(Maktub). “One of the first songs we wrote for the record was ‘Got Soul’ with Ivan (Neville).” Explains Alan, “It kinds of became the anthem for the record. We wanted to make a record for all people that got soul. While Break Out will certainly satisfy the hardcore Soulive fans, it also reaches into new domains – it keep beat conscious hip hop heads on their toes while resonating with those who grew up on Earth, Wind and Fire, Sly & The Family Stone, and Curtis Mayfield.

“When we first started Soulive, the musical version was very focused. In order to stay fresh, though, we felt the need to really integrate all of our influences into the music we make.” Says guitarist Eric Krasno, In a nod to Jimi Hendrix, the band rocks out a boisterous rendition of “Crosstown Traffic” with help from long-time, pedal steel guru, Robert Randolph. On this track, like most of the record, there are no hollow body guitar sounds. Instead, Eric lays into distorted wah-wah laced solos – his ton and sensibility on “Reverb” is much more akin to friend John Scofield than Grant Green. Krasno even recs up the acoustic for some tasty rhythm work on “She’s Hooked”

Essential to the new sound of Soulive are the powerful and tasteful arrangements of the “Soulive horns,” aka Rashawn Ross (Trumpet), and Ryan Zoidis (tenor and alto saxophones). The pair has now become a full-time horn section and an integral part of the band, traveling everywhere they go. Other key new ingredients on break Out are the Eddie Harris-life licks of Cochemea Gastelum on “Glad to know Yaw,” the trombone parts of Robin Eubanks and Lasim Richards, the background vocals of Jordan Battiste; and, Daniel Sadownick’s incredible percussion. Though Neil still pounds on the Hammond B-3 organ and the bass keys for many of the song on this CD (he plays all the bass lines and organ at the same time), he also lends his considerable skills to the clavinet, the Fender Rhodes and the piano.

The new CD stays true to Soulive’s essential grittiness, yet it also represents a large step forward in term of production. “We did a lot of different things with the drums on this record,” says Eric. “We all produce at our home studios a lot, making hip-hop beats, so we applied some of that to this record.” Tunes like the Latin-flavored “Cachaca” and the catchy collaboration with Reggie Watts. “She’s Hooked,” are a combination of drum sequences and live drums. “The basic difference between this record and our others,” laughs Neil, “is that this is the first time we’ve had more than five days to make a record. We recorded almost 40 songs before we found the right combination of material. Maybe next time we can find a happy medium between 5 days and three years.”

SouliveMost of all, Break Out solidifies the band as the world’s most prolific soul collaborators and firmly positions them as the “Funk Brothers of the 21st century.” They have recorded with everyone from Dave Matthews, Talib Kweli, and Black Thought, to Amel Larrieux, Meshell N’dgeocello, and Chali 2na. “We’ve worked with a lot of people in the past, but this is the first time we actually got to sit down, write and develop the material with an artist,” explains Alan. The band’s relationship with Ivan Neville, Corey Glover, Robert Randolph, and Reggie Watts go back for years. By contrast, the collaboration with Chaka Khan came down like a bolt of lightning. Soulive was doing a small showcase at the Knitting Factory in Los Angeles. The legendary soul singer was in the audience and was so into the music that she was moved to join the band on stage. “We had heard that she was in the audience, and we were really going for it that night,” says Alan. “When she got up on stage, we almost lost our mind. Chaka was one of our biggest idols growing up.” The next day the band went over to her house and wrote “Back Again.”

Soulive is joining the Concord Music Group at a time when the label is enjoying tremendous growth and expansion, not least because of its merger with the prestigious Fantasy, Inc. in 2004. The company is now is ruminating over the re-launch of the legendary soul, funk and R&B label, Stax, making the relationship with Soulive particularly synergistic. “The opportunities to combine the music and legendary artist of Stax with the contemporary sounds of bands like Soulive are endless,” says Chris Dunn, A&R representative for Concord. The boys of Soulive are also hoping that Concord will be to help them introduce their music to a wider audience. “Our fan base is really young, because we’ve been out there playing the clubs,” says Eric. “Soulive’s music is universal however.” Over a one-month period the band will play Lollapalooza (a rock festival), North Sea (a jazz festival in Europe) and open for Aretha Franklin.

Soulive has a busy summer festival season all over the world, including appearance on three continents in July – the North Sea Jazz festival in Holland, Lollapalooza in Chicago and the Fuji Rock Fest in Japan. The band will embark on an extended tour this fall in support of Break Out. “Without a doubt, this is our best record,” says Krasno, “so we’re going out there to give it our best shot. Our music has changed a lot, but we’re still out there trying to basically do the same thing – move people’s bodies and then move their minds”

Break Out
Soulive - Break Out Track Listing:
1. Interlude
2. Reverb
3. Got Soul
4. Cachaca
5. Back Again
6. Break Out
7. She's Hooked
8. Crosstown Traffic

9. Take It Easy
10. Vapor
11. What Can You Do
12. Interlude
13. Freedom
14. Glad Ta Know Ya
15. Interlude
click here to buy Break Out
Steady Groovin: The Blue Note Groove Sides
Soulive - Steady Groovin: The Blue Note Groove Sides Track Listing:
1. Interlude
2. Reverb
3. Got Soul
4. Cachaca
5. Back Again
6. Break Out
7. She's Hooked
8. Crosstown Traffic

9. Take It Easy
10. Vapor
11. What Can You Do
12. Interlude
13. Freedom
14. Glad Ta Know Ya
15. Interlude
click here to buy Steady Groovin: The Blue Note Groove Sides
Turn It Out Remixed
Soulive - Turn It Out Remixed Track Listing:
1. Intro
2. Tabasco [Remix]
3. Doin' Something [Remix]
4. Cash's Dream [Remix]
5. Turn It Out [Remix]
6. S.O.U.L.I.V.E.

7. Steppin' [Remix]
8. Arruga de Agua [Remix] - Me'Shell NdegéOcello
9. Nealization [Remix]
10. Rudy's Way [Remix]
11. Azucar [Remix]
12. Steppin' [Remix 2000]
click here to buy Turn It Out Remixed
Soulive (Live)
Soulive - Soulive (Live) Track Listing:
1. Alladin
2. El Ron
3. Solid (Live)
4. First Street
5. Shaheed (Live)

6. Dig It
7. One In Seven (Live)
8. Lenny (Live)
9. Turn It Out
click here to buy Soulive (Live)
Soulive - Next Track Listing:
1. Tuesday Night Squad
2. Flurries
3. Liquid
4. Kalen
5. Clap (Deitch's Interlude)
6. Nay Nay

7. I Don't Know
8. Whatever It Is
9. Alkime
10. ED Hambone
11. Bridge To Bama - Soulive & Talib Kweli
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Doin' Something
Soulive - Doin' Something Track Listing:
1. Hurry Up And Wait
2. Doin' Something
3. Evidence
4. One In Seven
5. Bridge To 'Bama

6. Cannonball
7. Shaheed
8. Solid
9. Roll The Tape
10. Joe Sample
click here to buy Doin' Something
Turn It Out
Soulive - Turn It Out Track Listing:
1. Steppin'
2. Uncle Junior
3. Azucar
4. Tabasco - John Scofield
5. Rudy's Way

6. Jesus Children
7. Nealization
8. So Live!
9. Arruga de Agua - John Scofield
10. Turn It Out
click here to buy Turn It Out
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