Soulive's Rubber Soulive is a funky tribute to the Beatles that's loaded with hooks and Hammond B3 riffs. While there easily are hundreds of jazz Fab Four interpretations, this one merges the spirit of the originals with a greasy groove. There's always great peril to jazzing up Lennon-McCartney songs, since the result can come off sounding like a wedding band in heat. Soulive escapes this trap, thanks largely to Alan Evans' driving drum beats and his brother Neal's organ set narrow to recreate that 60s portable sound. Drive My Car, In My Life and Something are particularly catchy. On While My Guitar Gently Weeps, guitarist Eric Krasno opens with a surfer sound before shifting over to hard rock soloing.
You'll find Soulive's Rubber Soulive (Royal Family) at iTunes and here.
Omar Hakim and Rachel Z's The Trio of OZ is a fusion towel-twist that showcases the tough and tender sides of the three musicians featured here. Drummer Hakim has played with Weather Report, Miles Davis, Sting and others. Pianist Rachel Z has worked with Wayne Shorter, Steps Ahead and others. They are joined by bassist Maeve Royce. What's interesting about this album is that each track has a strong build that's tempered by a graceful, interior touch. So songs like I Will Possess Your Heart and Sting's King of Pain rumble forward with exciting energy but in the center is a storyteller, a voice of lyrical reason.
You'll find Omar Hakim and Rachel Z's Trio of OZ (Ozmosis) here.
Chris Colangelo's Elaine's Song is the bassist's first CD in 10 years. Of the nine tracks on the album, seven are Colangelo originals. Tracks are quartet efforts, with different saxophonists taking turns on the lead. The reed players are Bob Sheppard, Benn Clatworthy and Zane Musa—and each offers a different flavor as soloist. They are supported by Colangelo, John Beasley on piano and Steve Hass on drums. The originals have a moody, fusiony feel, noteably the title track, with Sheppard on tenor sax, and Green and Blue, featuring Clatworthy on flute. There's also a terrific rendition of John Coltrane's Straight Street with Sheppard on soprano sax. My favorite is Watt's Important, which Colangelo dedicated to drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts.
You'll find Chris Colangelo's Elaine's Song (C-Note) at iTunes and here.