A grooving bag of wonderful soul jazz CDs released over the past few years.
Alive & Kickin’ – Organissimo (Big O)
A live organ trio recording that burns, shouts and screams, with the occasional pause for the cause (Zappa’s catchy “Blessed Relief”). A New Orleans current runs through it, and the 18:40 jam of “Pumpkin Pie” harkens back to the glory days of Grant Green’s extended live jams.
Never Can Say Goodbye: The Music of Michael Jackson – Joey DeFrancesco (HighNote)
Aided by Paul Bollenback on guitar, Joey D mixes pop and jazz with a rock feeling and very often creates something new from a sampling of the King of Pop’s greatest hits.
Live at Voce – Steve Gadd (Varese Fontana)
More Joey D and Bollenback with Rochester’s lead drummer, plus the bari of Ronnie Cuber. Nice live club ambiance, excellent and diverse tune selection, grooves that are constantly in there like swimwear.
The Groover – Mike LeDonne (Savant)
If Charles Earland was the Mighty Burner, LeDonne proves he’s the Mighty Groover here. LeDonne’s working band with the incredible Peter Bernstein, guitar, and Eric Alexander on tenor in a most soulful mood.
California Concert: The Hollywood Palladium, 40th Anniversary Edition (Sony Masterworks)
Hubbard, Turrentine, Hank Crawford, Johnny “Hammond” Smith and many more. Beautifully remastered. “Red Clay,” “Sugar,” previously unreleased versions of “So What” and “Straight Life.” Over 150 minutes of the CTI heyday, live. ‘Nuff said!
Spiral – Dr. Lonnie Smith (Palmetto
A classic organ trio outing from the Turbanator, ranging from ballads to bad-ass post bop, with a few dollops of funk.
Groove Alchemy – Stanton Moore (Telarc)
Call it a history of groove from a drummer who lives “in the pocket.” The usual totally gellin’ chemistry between Moore, Robert Walter, and Will Bernard.
Song for the Soul – Radam Schwartz & Conspiracy for Positivity (Arabesque)
Schwartz’ quartet teams up with vocalist Miles Griffith, who conjures up that Andy Bey with Gary Bartz-type of spiritual soul, for a diverse set with a good mix of groove and inspiration.
I’m New Here – Gil Scott-Heron (XL)
And he’s still here, thankfully. Like some of Sly Stone’s vocals, Scott-Heron’s life and times are clearly displayed in his voice. It’s a bleak, very real record with a very contemporary vibe.
Rubber Soul – Soulive (Royal Family)
Soulive meets the Beatles. Lennon and McCartney wrote harmonically rich material and memorable melodies, which aids the groovers’ efforts with these 11 tunes.
Backatown– Trombone Shorty (Verve Forecast)
The first thing that hits you is the energy and spirit. It’s New Orleans brass band that harkens back at times to the horn rock of 10 Wheel Drive and Chase. Jazz, funk, rock remixed that’s like a past-due utility bill: it’ll put your lights out!
Back Home – Pat Bianchi (Doodlin’)
Organist with Rochester roots goes on a Larry Young-esque excursion. Especially inspired ideas and blowing from Wayne Escoffery on tenor.
III – Budos Band (Daptone)
Tighter horns, better Afrobeats, relentless funk. The Budos Band's finest effort to date.