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Soul Manifesto (2001)

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Rodney Jones

Soul Manifesto is a sharp departure from the advanced post-bop of Jones' previous Blue Note outing, The Undiscovered Few. Embracing his early funk and soul-jazz roots, Jones keeps it simple and relentlessly groovy this time, bringing on board organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, bassist Lonnie Plaxico (playing electric throughout), drummer Idris Muhammad, and, for the first time together, alto saxophonists Arthur Blythe and Maceo Parker. Jones leans on extended one-chord vamps for "Groove Bone" and "Soul Manifesto," giving the assembled players time to establish a deep funk pocket. "One Turnip Green" and "Soup Bone" are swinging takes on rhythm changes and the blues, respectively; the latter finds Smith unleashing his full artillery on organ. Covers include Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine," Mal Waldron's classic ballad "Soul Eyes," and the instantly recognizable "Soul Makossa." Overall, despite the big names and the strong playing, the concept is better than execution. Monotony sets in a few too many times. ~ David R. Adler