Ray Charles did it better than anyone. He brought deep-rooted soul out of the church and into popular music. Jazz and blues need that kind of inner soul in order to survive. It's usually offered up alongside creative works that sometimes contain lyrics and usually come on the heels of spontaneity.
In a program that combines soul music with swing and big band authority, The Soul Deacons bring us popular songs that focus on storytelling with a backbeat, tight horns, and plenty of genuine emotion. Brother E. Clayton tells it like it is, while his big swing band and backup singers surround him with comfortable thrills.
An instrumental number, Pee Wee Ellis' "The Chicken (made famous by the late Jaco Pastorius) gives the album its biggest jazz kick as guitarist Steve Hill and tenor saxophonist Nick Thompson turn up the heat. The piece is anchored by a thrilling electric bass vamp that gathers momentum with organ and congas alongside. The Soul Deacons feel as at home with jazz and blues as they do with R&B.
Lead singer Clayton grew up in New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore. He inherited jazz and blues from a blue-collar perspective that grew out of a love for the songs of Sam Cooke, Curtis Mayfield, and more. Most of the session places its focus on popular R&B. "Don't Knock My Love reveals a firm funk resolution, while "Deeper in Love With You parades a sample of contemporary blues around the room.
The band has been recorded with a clear balance that makes its songs come alive. At under forty minutes, however, the session leaves you wanting for more. "You're Just the One (I've Been Looking For) makes a suitable title for this album; just as relevant as Skippin' Church. Not limited to Sundays, this is one welcome session that entertains every day of the week.
Track Listing: Hold Back the Night; Dont Let the Green Grass Fool You; Stool Pigeon; Shes Not Just Another Woman; Sweet Feeling; Trying to Live My Life; The Chicken; Deeper in Love With You; Dont Knock My Love; Just the One (Ive Been Looking For); Youve Got to Hurt.
Personnel: Brother E. Clayton: lead vocals, background vocals, piano; Jimmy Martinez: bass, background vocals; Steve Hill: guitars, background vocals; Steve ONeill: piano, electric piano, organ, synthesizer, clavinet, background vocals; Mark Esquibel: drums; Trey Keepin: tenor saxophone; Nick Thompson: tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone; Chris Calloway: background vocals; Kathy McGill: background vocals; Anne Bransford: background vocals; Kevin Miller: congas.
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.