Tag: Lettuce

New Video: Soulive Returns With Soulful and Psychedelic Genre-Defying Composition from Forthcoming Film Soundtrack-Inspired EP

Consisting of Eric Krasno (guitar) and siblings Alan Evans (drums) and Neal Evans (Hammond B3 organ, bass keys, clavinet), the renowned genre-defying funk/jazz New York-based trio Soulive can trace their origins back to when the Evans Brothers began performing in a number of regionally known acts including the jam band Moon Boot Lover and a brief stint with rap act The Elements, which featured Edreys, a.k.a. Billy Drease Williams before they began looking to start a traditional jazz organ trio. And as the story goes, in March 1999, the Evans Brothers invited their high school pay Eric Krasno to jam and record some tracks with them at their home studio in Woodstock, NY, and those sessions wound up comprising their debut EP Get Down! 

Shortly after the release of Get Down! the newly formed band hit the road touring to support it. During that first tour, the trio recorded their full-length debut Turn It Out and the effort, which was released in 2000 through Velour Recordings featured and impressive array of guest musicians including renowned jazz guitarist John Scofield, multi-instrumentalist Oteil Burnbridge, best known for a lengthy stint in the Allman Brothers Band, and saxophonist Sam Kininger, who has collaborated with Lettuce, Dave Matthews Band and others. For an independent act, their full-length debut went on to sell over 65,000 copies, which quickly established the members of Soulive as one of contemporary jazz and funk’s most exciting, new acts. By the fall of 2000, Soulive had signed a record deal with Blue Note Records, with whom they released their sophomore effort Doin’ Something, which featured horn arrangements by the legendary Fred Wesley; their third, full-length album Next, which featured guest spots from Dave Matthews, Amel Larrieux, Talib Kweli and Black Thought. They also collaborated with singer/songwriter Goapele Mohlabane.
Building upon a growing profile, Soulive went on five national tours over the next three years, opening for The Rolling Stones, Dave Matthews Band, The Roots, Common, John Mayer and others, while making appearances at Monterey Jazz Festival and Bonaroo, as well as tours across Japan and the European Union; in fact, one of their Japanese tours wound up becoming their eponymous and highly acclaimed, self-titled live album, released in 2003. And before leaving Blue Note Records, the members of Soulive released the Turn It Out Remixed album, which featured Jurassic 5, DJ Spinna, DJ Krush, J-Live, Wordsworth and The Beatnuts.

2005’s Break Out, the New York-based jazz/funk act’s first album with new label Concord Music Group found the band experimenting with their sound and approach, as they eschewed extended and free-flowing jams for beat-driven instrumentals; but along with that, they collaborated with the legendary Chaka Khan, Ivan Neville, Living Colour’s Corey Glover, Robert Randolph and comedian and multi-instrumentalist Reggie Watts. 2006’s Stewart Lerman-produced No Place Like Soul featured Boston, MA-based reggae/soul artist Toussaint as their lead vocalist; however, after that tour the band decided to return to being a trio. In fact, 2009’s Up Here was something of a return to form for the band with the material mainly being instrumentals with the members of Soulive collaborated with The Shady Horns — the aforementioned Sam Kininger (alto sax) and Rashawn Ross (trumpet) — and Nigel Hall.

Now, I personally became familiar with Soulive with 2010’s Rubber Soulive, an effort that comprised of jazz and funk-inspired renditions of the Beatles catalog — and their annual multi-week residency Bowlive, which featured the band collaborating with an incredibly diverse and dynamic array of artists. Interestingly, the members of the band have been busy with their respective projects — in particular Soulive’s Eric Krasno has been with Lettuce, an increasing production load and his own solo work; however, the members of the band reconvened at Alan Evans’ Iron Wax Studios in late 2017 with a few loosely-sketched ideas and no overarching concept in mind, and began fleshing out ideas as a band. “We trust each other to bring our voices to each other’s ideas,” says Alan Evans, while Krasno adds, “I think Soulive creates our best material using that method.”

The end result is the trio’s long-awaited Cinematics, Vol. 1 EP, which the band will be releasing through their own label Soulive Music on February 23, 2018. Although it’s the first new material from the renowned act in over six years, as you’ll hear on the EP’s first single “Kings March,” Soulive further cements their reputation for a genre-defying sound — in this particular case, the composition draws from 60s funk, psych pop, psych rock, hip-hop and jazz and it finds the band doing so in a fashion reminiscent of El Michels Affair and Wu Tang Clan; but with an incredibly cinematic fashion, as though it could have been part of the soundtrack of a rainy, spy thriller set in Eastern Europe and Miami.

Reportedly, the cinematic quality of the music arose from the trio’s collective instincts writing and recording together. “We didn’t have to talk about anything,” Alan says. “It all unfolded as we were working on it; one song influences the direction of the next, and soon you find yourself going down this path. We want this music to take people on a little journey.” Adds, Eric Krasno, “A cinematic piece of music creates a mood. Film composers like Jerry Goldsmith, David Axelrod, Ennio Morricone and Melvin Van Peebles were all influential in the concept for Cinematics. The idea is to use soundscape and melodic interplay to enhance the feeling and sentiment of a visual and to amplify the emotion that it’s relating.”

The recently released video features rather black and white intimate footage of the band, along with some appropriately psychedelic imagery. 

Currently comprised of Leeds, UK-born, Toronto, ON-based founding member Gareth Parry along with Sebastian Buccioni, Jon Hyde, Sly Juhad Kyle Sullivan, the Toronto, ON-based funk act Gareth Parry and The Out of Towners initially was initially conceived as an old-school boogaloo funk trio playing after-hour dance parties back in Leeds and Manchester; however, since then the band’s founder has helped drive the band’s sound, pushing their sound away clear cut genre boundaries, with their sound drawing from deep house, space rock, blues rock and funk — and “The Post That Hurts The Most,” the first single off the band’s soon-to-be released debut effort Skronk is decidedly influenced by the deep fried Southern rock grooves of The Allman Brothers and The Meters, as well as contemporaries like Lettuce and The Texas Gentlemen, complete with a raw, you-were-there, immediacy.

 

 

Comprised of founding member and frontman Jon Wirtz (keys),  Eric Imbrosciano (drums), Taylor Scott (guitar) and Todd Edmunds (bass), both of whom have worked with Otis Taylor, Gabriel Mervine (trumpet) and The Motet‘s Matt Pitts (tenor sax), the Denver, CO-based psychedelic funk sextet Space Orphan can trace their origins to early 2015 the act’s founding member had been hitting creative roadblocks with various solo projects when he was reminded of what made him excited about music and creating music — deep funky grooves. After writing a few compositions, he rushed into the studio with the aforementioned group of collaborators and dear friends to finish the songs and record them before Wirtz could overanalyze them.

As a result of the Denver-based sextet’s growing profile, they’ve opened for the likes of legendary bassist George Porter, Jr. and Jans Ingber’s Funk Fellowship — and adding to that, the band will be releasing their full-length debut Shut Up About The Sun is slated for September 30, 2016 release. “Free Swag,” the album’s first single is a strutting and swaggering bit of futuristic funk that owes a sonic debt to Mothership Connection-era Parliament, Expensive Shit/He Miss Road-era Fela and contemporary acts such as Lettuce and Soulive as the song possesses a trippy yet funky groove — but with a drum ‘n’ bass-leaning bridge. It’s the beloved old school funk sound but with a modern take.

 

 

 

 

Currently comprised of Eric Krasno (guitar), Adam Smirnoff (guitar), Neal Evans (keyboards, Hammond B-3 organ, piano), Adam Deitch (drums), Erick Coomes (bass), Ryan Zoidis (saxophone) and Eric Bloom (trumpet) and Rashawn Ross (trumpet), the acclaimed funk/jam-band octet Lettuce can trace their origins back to 1992 when several members of the band met and bonded over a mutual love of Herbie Hancock‘s jazz fusion work in the 1970s, Earth, Wind & Fire and Tower of Power, while attending a summer program as teenagers at Berklee College of Music. And as you can imagine they jammed together over the course of the summer and then went off on their separate ways at the conclusion of the program.

By the fall of 1994, the members of the band had reconvened as undergraduate students at Berklee, and during that time, they attempted to pick up gigs with local musicians and at local clubs. Ironically, the band’s name is derived from this period, when the band would walk into a club and would ask a club owner or a band leader if they would “let us play.” Mainly through word-of-mouth, the band developed rather fervent followings in Boston, NYC, San Francisco, Chicago and Tokyo, and their profile grew even larger as the band released their debut effort, Outta Here (2001), followed by Live in Tokyo recorded at the Blue Note Jazz Club’s Tokyo location. Over the past seven or eight years, the members of Lettuce have been balancing a number of different projects with busy touring schedules. Krasno along with Evans and Evans’ brother Alan play together in Soulive, a jazz fusion/jam-band act, perhaps best known these days for their annual Brooklyn Bowl residency. But lately, Krasno has been exceptionally busy as he’s picked up roles as a producer, songwriter, released a solo album, and has played on a couple Grammy Award-winning albums by Tedeschi Trucks Band. Smirnoff has been a member of Lady Gaga‘s touring band and has had a stint as a touring member of Robert Randolph and The Family Band. Zoidis is a member of Rustic Overtones but he also joins Soulive during live shows as a member of The Shady Horns. Coomes has been a session player for Britney Spears, The Game, and has contributed to Dr. Dre‘s Compton. Deitch drums for and has produced a number of artists including Pretty Lights, Talib Kweli and has collaborated with John Scofield and Wyclef Jean. And Ross has been a full-time member of Dave Matthews Band since 2010. Of course, as a result Lettuce has had gaps between their recorded output with their sophomore studio effort, Rage! released in 2009, and Fly released in 2012.

Coincidentally during that time Lettuce developed a reputation for being one of the country’s best live acts — and as a result they’ve played at some of the country’s biggest festivals. Interestingly, the band’s forthcoming Crush is reportedly inspired and came to life during the band’s most recent stints on the road together — with a great deal of the material being road-tested. “Phyllis,” the first single off the new album continues the band’s reputation for jazz fusion and hip-hop inspired, psychedelic leaning funk — but with a subtly futuristic sheen as the song is comprised of spidery guitar lines that twist and turn paired with atmospheric and swirling electronics, hip-hop inspired beats and horn blasts. There’s a sense that the trippy composition comes from a basic idea and expanded upon during an expansive jam session, as the band builds up a tight, motorik-like groove — and in some way, the song is a subtle revision of the sound that has garnered the octet such attention.

The band is currently on a rather lengthy tour, which will include two NYC area shows. Check out tour dates below.

Tour Dates

10/14 at Newport Music Hall in Columbus, OH
10/15 at Turner Hall Ballroom in Milwaukee, WI
10/16 at The Pageant in St. Louis, MO
10/17 at Hillberry 2: Harvest Moon Festival in Eureka Springs, AR
10/18 at The Blue Note in Columbia, MO
10/20 at Slowdown in Omaha, NE
10/21 at Liberty Hall in Lawrence, KS
10/23 at Art Outside in Rockdale, TX
10/24 at Hangtown Halloween Ball in Placerville, CA
10/27 at Intersection in Grand Rapids, MI
10/28 at The Vogue Theatre in Indianapolis, IN
10/29 at Headliners Music Hall in Louisville, KY
10/30 at WorkPlay Theatre in Birmingham, AL
10/31 at Voodoo Music and Arts Experience in New Orleans, LA
11/1 at Suwannee Hulaween in Live Oak, FL
11/3 at The Chop Shop in Charlotte, NC
11/4 at Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh, NC
11/5 at The Orange Peel in Asheville, NC
11/6 at Buckhead in Atlanta, GA
11/7 at War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville, TN
11/8 at Track 29 in Chattanooga, TN
11/10 ay Rex Theater in Pittsburgh, PA
11/11 at Tralf Music Hall in Buffalo, NY
11/12 at State Theatre in State College, PA
11/13 at PlayStation Theater in New York, NY
11/14 at PlayStation Theater in New York, NY
12/3-12/6 at Dominican Holidaze in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
12/31 at Riviera Theatre in Chicago, IL
1/6-1/10 at Jam Cruise 14
2/12-2/14 at Gem and Jam Festival in Tucson, AZ