Soulive

The Royal Family Ball featuring

Soulive

Lettuce, Roy Hargrove, Pharoahe Monch, Rahzel & DJ JS-1, Raul Midon, The Shady Horns

Sat, October 15, 2011

Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 7:30 pm

Terminal 5

New York, NY

$25 advance / $30 day of show / $75 VIP Rager Ticket

This event is all ages

VIP 'Rager' ticket includes: Rager tour laminate, a meet & greet with the band following soundcheck, access to a VIP viewing area, a signed poster & a download code containing tapes of the show. (will call only)

Soulive
Soulive
Soulive has never made any bones about what they do best; it’s right there in their name. Since forming in 1999, the trio of guitarist Eric Krasno, drummer Alan Evans and keyboardist Neal Evans has carried the torch for the soul-jazz organ trio—that venerable, funky institution pioneered by the likes of Jimmy Smith, Brother Jack McDuff and Groove Holmes in the late ’60s. Rest assured, when the Evans brothers first brought Kraz by their Woodstock studio, there was plenty of old vinyl spread out on the floor.

In their 13 years together, Soulive has followed the muse in the direction of hip-hop, R&B, blues and rock, collaborating with the likes of Chaka Khan, Dave Matthews, Talib Kweli, John Scofield, Derek Trucks, Maceo Parker, Susan Tedeschi, Robert Randolph, Joshua Redman, Kenny Garrett, Fred Wesley, The Roots, Ivan Neville and so many others, even going so far as to record a full album of covers by The Beatles (Rubber Soulive). But, no matter how they push the limits of the organ trio, they always come back to their bread and butter: blistering solos and grooves that don’t quit.

Their latest, a four-track EP entitled, SPARK, deserves a place on your record shelf right between Booker T. and a bottle of some damn good single-malt. Recorded over a day and a half with saxophonist/flautist Karl Denson (The Greyboy Allstars, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe), the record captures the smoky vibe of early-’70s-era CTI Records releases by the likes of Freddie Hubbard, Grover Washington Jr. and George Benson. It’s the stuff Denson grew up on. “I’m older than the Soulive guys,” he says. “When I heard those records being sampled back in the late 80s, early 90s, popping up in clubs when I was over in Europe touring with Lenny Kravitz, that’s what really prepared me for this whole thing we’ve been doing for the last 20 years. It was a natural progression for me to finally do something in the CTI vein.”

Each tune was ultimately just a vehicle for the musicians’ playing, so, sticking to this formula, the quartet used very few overdubs. “Back in that era,” Krasno explains, “you bought a piece of vinyl and it had two tracks on either side. The grooves were kind of dark but really open and each musician got a chance to breathe.” Denson continues: “SPARK is really about the playing, less about the tunes. It’s the four of us collectively getting back to more of a jazzier thing than we’d done in recent memory.”

The first side opens with Yusef Lateef’s sultry Nubian Lady, featuring Denson on flute. It was a mutual love for Lateef that brought the quartet together to begin with—Kraz having studied with the legend and Denson having idolized his records. The laid-back tempo lets the group simmer on the theme until Kraz decides to slice the whole thing open with some Middle Eastern fretwork, leaving Karl to pick up the pieces. Denson describes the sound as “Something a little more chilled out but funky at the same time.” Povo is a perfect evocation of the era, first recorded by Freddie Hubbard on CTI in 1972, featuring some of Kraz’s most sinewy lines and a caterwauling climax on tenor from Denson. When the two lay out, the Evans brothers remind the listener why an organ and a drum kit have always been plenty good for funky jazz. “We’ve always loved James Brown and music that’s going to make you groove,” says Krasno. “But there’s so much more vocabulary from jazz that you can put in it.” Art Farmer would have agreed. The band’s rendition of his 1972 tune Soulsides slips plenty of ideas into the deep pocket, putting Neal Evans out front on piano.

Spark, the only original song on the record, was written in homage to legendary soul-jazz guitarist Melvin Sparks, who passed away only days before Soulive entered the studio. Known for his fleet fingers and deft sense of the blues, Sparks made his name backing organists like McDuff and Dr. Lonnie Smith. Krasno grew up listening to Sparks play at a regular gig in New Canaan, CT, and credits the guitarist with inspiring many of his own sensibilities. When Denson asked Sparks to open for the Greyboy Allstars’ first East Coast tour in 1994, it revived his career. “We totally got along and had a great time over the years,” says Denson. Sparks joined Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe to record Dance Lesson No. 2 in 2001 and “just annihilated it. He was a great cat and a total musical mentor.” So, it was with sadness that the four musicians collectively penned the tune and with reverence that they perform the slinky strut, while dedicating the EP to his memory. Denson eulogizes on both flute and tenor while Krasno’s tone impeccably channels the musician he calls, “one of the great guitarists of our time and the coolest dude I knew.”
Lettuce
Lettuce
For more than two decades, Lettuce have brought a new vitality to classic funk, matching their smooth and soulful grooves with a hip-hop-inspired urgency and mastery of beat. Now, on their fourth studio album Crush, drummer Adam Deitch, guitarists Adam Smirnoff and Eric Krasno, bassist Erick “Jesus” Coomes, keyboardist Neal Evans, saxophonist Ryan Zoidis, and trumpet player Eric Bloom deepen that sound by channeling the sonic freedom and infectious energy of their incendiary live show.

Produced by Lettuce and recorded/mixed by Joel Hamilton at Brooklyn’s Studio G, Crush first came to life on the road, with the band developing new material and testing it out live as they toured. “We’ve all noticed that our music goes into a lot of different directions onstage, and we wanted to capture that in a way that we never really have before,” says Coomes, who names classic psychedelia and ‘90s hip-hop among Lettuce’s key inspirations on Crush. “It’s definitely more wide-open in terms style, but it still stays true to the funk.”

The follow-up to 2012’s Fly, Crush finds Lettuce brilliantly infusing their psychedelic and hip-hop sensibilities into bass-heavy funk. With its spidery guitar work and hypnotic beats, “Phyllis” is a delicately sprawling epic that embodies what Deitch refers to as “a chill-hop vibe that’s kind of the flip-side of all that powerful uptempo funk that people might expect from us.” On “Get Greasy,” Lettuce give a nod to the groove-fueled EDM subgenre known as future funk, building off its highly danceable rhythm with a blissfully loose and horn-laced arrangement. And on “He Made a Woman Out of Me,” guest vocalist Alecia Chakour lends her bluesy growl to a scorching take on Bobbie Gentry’s 1970 country-soul classic.

According to Lettuce, that sense of unity and togetherness has much to do with a camaraderie that’s only intensified over the lifespan of the band. Formed in 1992, when several band members attended a summer program at Boston’s Berklee College of Music as teenagers, Lettuce was founded on a shared love of legendary funk artists like Earth, Wind & Fire and Tower of Power. After returning to Berklee as undergrads in 1994, Lettuce started playing in local clubs and steadily built up a following that soon extended to cities across the country and then throughout the world. Releasing their studio debut Outta Here in 2002 and its follow-up album Rage! in 2009, the band dedicated the coming years to balancing their frequent touring with involvement in a host of other musical endeavors (including Evans and Krasno’s role as founding members of acclaimed soul/jazz trio Soulive).

In recent years, Lettuce have watched their fan base expand as they’ve hit bigger and bigger stages and earned their name as a can’t-miss festival act. And in making Crush, the band had no trouble harnessing the spirit of their explosive live show. “Some of these shows we’ve played over the past couple years have been so amazing, it’s like you go home a different person,” says Coomes. “I’m sure remembering those moments in our minds and our hearts helped bring out something special when we were recording these new songs.”

So while Crush offers everything from all-out party jams to headphone-ready journeys into space funk, each track was born from an unabashed joy and love of live performance. “That energy we get when it’s prime time and we’re about to go onstage and we’re just excited beyond belief—that all came out on this new album,” says Deitch. “There’s a feeling that the band is rising, and it’s a really beautiful thing.”
Pharoahe Monch
Pharoahe Monch
Queens NYC native Pharoahe Monch first bursted into the scene part of the legendary group Organized Konfusion with Prince Poetry in 1991. Shortly after the duo disbanded, Monch stunned critics and fans with his debut solo album, 'Internal Affairs,' in 1999 spawning the breakout hit "Simon Says." Decades before Drake, Monch sang his choruses with soul driven melody on songs like “Queens” which chronicled the tragic life of an aspiring athlete taken under by the mean streets. “Simon Says”, the crowd moving hit powered by a Godzilla movie sample, itself became a monster single, propelling Monch to commercial success. The song appeared in the block-buster movie Charlie's Angels, and well as Boiler Room, which also featured “Right Here.” Monch took a break from album crafting following the dissolution of Rawkus, but he wasn't totally gone. In 2001 he appeared on the soundtrack to the Denzel Washington Oscar winning vehicle Training Day with the unapologetic “F**k You”. He also played the role of ghostwriter for Sean “Diddy” Combs on his 2006 well-received album, 'Press Play.' Monch's hand is evident on tracks, “The Future” and Havoc of Mobb Deep-featured track “The Holdup.” After a label bidding war, he resurfaced 8 years later with another universally lauded album, 'Desire,' (2007) garnering attention from mainstream media and song placement on the highly popular Madden NFL 08 video game. This time, Monch spread the production out and focused on his delivery, again crafting verses of variable speeds, deliveries, rhythms and concepts like very few have ever done. Now in 2011, Pharoahe Monch stands with his recently released 'W.A.R. (We Are Renegades),' taking a stand for higher thought and for the love of the art in Hip-Hop culture; standing firm against the commoditization of the music and so many lowbrow approaches to the art form. “This is a science and it filters into our being. This is what W.A.R. is about. This record is my truth as it was written when I made it,” says Monch. “I would like this album to be on a frequency to let you open the doors to your God-self. I want this harmony to give you goose bumps and raise the hairs on your arms. W.A.R. is a coat of arms against the destruction of art” Armed with an enormous array of skill, talent, and most important, love and soul, Pharoahe Monch sets out to wage war under the flag of his newly created company W.A.R. Media in a partnership with Duck Down Music.
Rahzel & DJ JS-1
Rahzel & DJ JS-1
Raul Midon
Raul Midon
Singer/guitarist Raul Midón is a contemporary soul singer whose impassioned acoustic guitar playing -- a mix of rock, classical, and flamenco -- has gotten him just as much attention as his smooth voice. Blind since birth, Midón was born in Embudo, NM, to an Argentine father and American mother. He began playing drums early in his childhood before switching to guitar, taking in flamenco, jazz, and classical styles on his chosen instrument. He relocated to Miami for college in the '90s and while there moonlighted as a background vocalist for Latin pop recording sessions. A remarkable talent even then, word quickly spread of Midón's talent as a singer and guitarist. Eventually he relocated to New York, where he concentrated on a solo career. His major-label debut, State of Mind, featuring guest appearances from Stevie Wonder and Jason Mraz, was released by Manhattan Records in June 2005. World Within a World followed in 2007. ~ Wade Kergan, All Music Guide
Venue Information:
Terminal 5
610 W 56th St
New York, NY, 10019
http://www.terminal5nyc.com/