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Soulive (2003)

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Soulive

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