Soulive – Next
(Blue Note – 2002)
by S.H. Watkins, Sr.
It seems that the newest thing in jazz is always another form of the old, again. Soulive has added a saxophonist, but they continue to put out their unique blend of 60’s/70’s straight ahead and acid-jazz. Tuesday Night’s Squad is straight out of some smoky club in the 70’s, followed by Flurries with it’s strong, harmonic Tower of Power like horn groove. Liquid bops in with a distinctive percussion sound and a hard organ groove… this is smooth, very smooth.
Joyful Girl features an appearance by Dave Matthews (for whom Soulive spent a long tour as the opener.) Clap! wanders into the Rap genre a bit, but Interlude follows with more of that earthy 70’s thing. It reminds me a little of the stuff Ticklah did a couple years ago. Alkime shows a bit of their sweet-ballad side, then they jump funk-jazzy with E.D. Hambone before closing with the rapped-up Bridge To ‘Bama. Once again Soulive manages to defy categorization while delivering great pleasure. Acid?, Retro?, Euro-Jazz? The classification is simply enjoyable.