All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

158

Soulive: Rubber Soulive

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
Soulive has experimented in many directions during the course of its decade- plus career, so it's only natural that the group would eventually go back to the basics, and that's exactly what it's done with Rubber Soulive. Comprised entirely of tunes by The Beatles, this project allows the band to get back to its roots in more ways than one (on the inner liner photo, see the suits and ties of their early days) without even covering that particular Lennon/McCartney tune.

Booker T & the MG'ss devoted an entire work to The Beatles on McLemore Avenue (Stax, 1970), and the best moments of Soulive's disc certainly bring that splendid work to mind, not because it sounds like it, but because it's equally inventive on its own terms, albeit deceptively so. Like the best groove musicians, the members of Soulive know just where to find the nexus of melody and rhythm in a song, so it's no wonder "Drive My Car," like most of these eleven tracks, is instantly recognizable.

Yet Soulive don't just proffer easy listening renditions of material like that or "Taxman"; this is not muzak in any way, shape, or form. Rather, the trio- -and that's what Soulive is here, shorn of the vocalists and horns that have adorned past projects— finds the best way to shape a number like "In My Life," where guitarist Eric Krasno states the main melodic motif, touching upon the melancholy and allowing Neal Evans (playing only piano and organ) to extend the emotion with a surge of Hammond B3.

"Eleanor Rigby" works much the same way, as Soulive never allows schmaltz to form on the sentiment at the heart of the song. And that may be what is most remarkable about the execution of this concept: Soulive creates an economical take of "I Want You (She's So Heavy)," for instance, and never succumbs to the temptation to drag out its performance. The group gets right to the heart of such famous songs with not a whit of self-consciousness, and no track exceeds five minutes in length.

So, not surprisingly, Soulive's take on "Come Together" captures both the whimsy and angst at the heart of John Lennon's composition. The sound quality plays no small part in the equation, as Neal Evans manages to create formidable keyboard bass lines and sibling Alan is just authoritative hammering out a 4/4 beat as he is gently accenting "Something." Of the three musicians, the drummer may be the most astute in maintaining the essence of Ringo Starr's original parts, all the while maintaining his unique approach.

The sole exception to Soulive's admirable loyalty to The Beatles is its reinvention of "Revolution." With the tighten-up drumming and dancing piano, the track is prime R&B—light years from the hard rock of the single version and the mix of music hall jazz and blues on The White Album (Apple/EMI, 1968). As such, it hints at the possibilities open to Soulive when the group plays this music in concert and avails itself of the opportunity to improvise on songs that have already proven themselves durable fodder for reinterpretation.

Track Listing: Drive My Car; Taxman; In My Life; Eleanor Rigby; I Want You (She's So Heavy); Come Together; Something; Revolution; Help!; Day Tripper; While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

Personnel: Eric Krasno: guitar; Neal Evans: piano, organ; Alan Evans: drums.

Title: Rubber Soulive | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Royal Family Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
  • Next by Craig W. Hurst
  • Next by Phil DiPietro
Read more articles
 

Spark!

Royal Family Records
2012

buy
Rubber Soulive

Rubber Soulive

Royal Family Records
2010

buy
Up Here

Up Here

Royal Family Records
2009

buy
 

Break Out

Concord Records
2005

buy
 

Soulive: Breakout

Concord Music Group
2005

buy

Related Articles

Read For Gyumri CD/LP/Track Review
For Gyumri
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: February 19, 2018
Read Sextet (Parker) 1993 CD/LP/Track Review
Sextet (Parker) 1993
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 19, 2018
Read Esperanto/Toca Antonio Carlos Jobim CD/LP/Track Review
Esperanto/Toca Antonio Carlos Jobim
by Kevin Press
Published: February 19, 2018
Read 9 CD/LP/Track Review
9
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 19, 2018
Read Orientation CD/LP/Track Review
Orientation
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 18, 2018
Read Romaria CD/LP/Track Review
Romaria
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 18, 2018
Read "Compassion: The Music Of John Coltrane" CD/LP/Track Review Compassion: The Music Of John Coltrane
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 3, 2017
Read "Arise" CD/LP/Track Review Arise
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 10, 2017
Read "The Dead Man" CD/LP/Track Review The Dead Man
by James Nadal
Published: April 4, 2017
Read "You Eat My Food, You Drink My Wine, You Steal My Girl!" CD/LP/Track Review You Eat My Food, You Drink My Wine, You Steal My Girl!
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 7, 2018
Read "King For A Day" CD/LP/Track Review King For A Day
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 3, 2017
Read "Truth, Liberty & Soul Live in New York: The Complete NPR Jazz Alive! Recording" CD/LP/Track Review Truth, Liberty & Soul Live in New York: The Complete...
by John Kelman
Published: May 20, 2017