Soul music is a popular music genre that originated in the United States in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It combines elements of African-American gospel music, rhythm and blues and jazz. Soul music became popular for dancing and listening in the United States, where record labels such as Motown, Atlantic and Stax were influential during the Civil Rights Movement. Soul also became popular around the world, directly influencing rock music and the music of Africa.
The third in a series of collections of danceable jazz from the late 1950s to the mid-1970s that wasn't afraid to throw in rock, soul, pop, and blues elements (the prior volumes being Mod Jazz and Mo' Mod Jazz). What makes this stand out from other compilations of the sort, not to mention most jazz compilations of any sort, is its sheer irreverence and willingness to mix in tracks that might be considered inappropriate, or downright blasphemous, by purists.
A landmark bit of indie funk from the 70s – one of the few records cut by Detroit keyboardist Eddie Russ, and easily the best! The album features Russ going to town on electric piano – working with a hip combo called The Mixed Bag, which features some wicked work on flute and soprano sax by Larry Nozero – and a vibe that's a lot more laidback than standard funk, or even more mainstream jazz funk too – a sweet open groove that's mighty nice all the way through! The album's really a showcase for Nozero and Russ' solos – trading back and forth effortlessly over long tunes that roll along in a sweet electric-tinged groove – long vamping rhythms that really seem to drive both players onto new heights.
Guitarist Ronnie Earl's realization that you don't need a vocalist to sing the blues freed him up to roam across the vernacular music landscape, dipping into jazz, gospel, and soul, and has made him one of the most innovative and interesting musicians working in contemporary blues. It's hardly a radical step, since scores of jazz musicians have been mining the blues for 80 years without vocalists, and in Earl's case it was a natural shift – maybe even an obvious one given that he has often cited John Coltrane as a predominant influence. On Now My Soul, his second release from Stony Plain Records, Earl moves a bit back to neutral ground on the vocal issue…
A far-reaching early gem from Roy Ayers – a set that's much more jazz-based than his later work, and a record that has him touching base with the Blue Note and Strata East sides of the jazz spectrum! The lineup here is incredibly hip – a mix of players that includes a young Charles Tolliver on trumpet, Harold Land and Joe Henderson on tenor, Jack Wilson on piano, and Reggie Workman on bass – not to mention Roy himself on some mighty great vibes! There's a surprising spiritual undercurrent to the music – pointing the way towards jazz to come in the 70s.
"After Hours" has become a widespread calling card for the area between midnight and twilight, when all the city falls asleep except for a collective of nocturnal beings. A whole new range of attitudes - diverse styles, open perception. After Hours is when the machine turns off -and when the mind turns on. In musical terms, it is the region outside categorization, the music that slips beyond the average stream of beats. It's not based on any beat pattern. After Hours is not ambient; nor is it acid-jazz, it's the area that exists in the gray area between them. Too quirky to hold any cliches too tightly; too loose for any grand agendas. After Hours eases the mind, softens the palette and opens the door to a new day.
Groove Holmes and Gerald Wilson – a wonderful combination on this late 60s session – in a style that's everything great about mainstream LA jazz at the time! Wilson really has a way with the charts on the session – and although the group is large, they've got a lean, clean sound that bounces along nicely – slightly funky at times, always soulful at others – a perfect backdrop for the well-played Hammond lines that Groove brings to the set! The album's not as much of an all-out organ wailer as some of Holmes' albums for Prestige – but that's a-ok with us, because Wilson's group features some other great players too – including Dennis Budimir on guitar, Tony Ortega and Arnie Watts on saxes, and Paul Humphrey on drums!