ROBERT RANDOLPH & THE FAMILY BAND – GOT SOUL
Pedal-steel virtuoso Robert Randolph returns with his new album, Got Soul. The album reaffirms that Randolph and his Family Band have truly evolved into one of the most exciting and innovative outfits in contemporary music. Got Soul takes stock of Randolph's past as a church musician as it pushes the band forward into new places. There is no shortage of originality on the album with songs that run the gamut from gospel numbers to deep, funky grooves to incendiary rock-and-soul jams. The hauntingly exquisite "Heaven's Calling" features Randolph on solo steel while guest vocalists Darius Rucker and Anthony Hamilton lend their golden voices to "Love Do What It Do" and "She Got Soul" respectively. "I Thank You," the 60s Sam & Dave R&B smash, is completely re-imagined in the hands of the Family Band and Snarky Puppy's very on Cory Henry.
CHARLIE SEPULVEDA WITH EDDIE PALMIERI - MR. EP: A TRIBUTE TO EDDIE PALMIERI
Charlie Sepúlveda is trumpeter of power and nuance. On this new recording, Sepúlveda takes on the challenge of preserving culture without being trapped by it. He can take a tried-and-true classic like "Besamé Mucho," and instead of falling into the routine he completely modernizes it, stripping the tune of his sometime over-emphasized bolero rhythm and makes something completely new and communicative. Here paying tribute to his former boss, Eddie Palmieri, Sepúlveda brings his distinctive style to eight imaginative tracks with Palmieri delivering two solo tracks. This isn't salsa and it isn't jazz, and it's not exactly a fusion of the two but an exciting and imaginative place between them.
JOHN STEIN - COLOR TONES
Triple threat: truly excellent compositions, arrangements, and world class playing.
Acclaimed guitarist John Stein expands his already impressive sonic palette on his new recording, Color Tones. The new album, created with his ever-intriguing core rhythm section—longtime drummer Zé Eduardo Nazario and renown bass player John Lockwood—has also added the voices of two hyper-original soloists, Fernando Brandão on flutes or well-regarded trumpeter Phil Grenadier out of Boston. All of Stein’s accompanists here expertly carve out their territory. Songs like the concise “Neck Road,” perhaps the best example of how this collective functions, features all five instrumentalists intertwining in respectful but bristling ways. And in true Stein fashion, the musicians here complement their bandleader tastily, providing a firm and steady foundation for all the fun that happens on top. Stein’s colleagues also recognize and appreciate the freedom that goes along with playing in an open-minded setting. Stein creates with both composition and structure, and he can color in the details of those structures artfully. But even though the format feels traditional on the surface, there are still surprises hiding underneath. In fact, Color Tones is a true delight, with excellent compositions, sublime arrangements and enthralling musicianship. Isn’t that all we require from a jazz recording? Tracks include: The Commons. Angel Eyes, New Shoes, Five Weeks, Jo Ann, Neck Road, Labor Of Love, Ebb And Flow, Four Corners, Salt Marsh Dawn, and Wall Stones.