SOUL SUGAR is a French soul-jazz collective led by organist GUILLAUME METENIER. Based in Montmartre, the young Parisian is one Europe’s most in-demand keyboard players. GUILLAUME specialises in vintage instruments – the clavinet, the Fender Rhodes and most of all the Hammond B3. Indeed his passion for that iconic instrument led him to forge a working relationship with one of the great Hammond maestros, DR LONNIE SMITH. METENIER regularly studies with SMITH and SOUL SUGAR’S first long player – 2010’s ‘Nothing But The Truth’ – is redolent of that player’s smouldering, soul-jazz styling; other critics drew critical comparison to other organ greats like BROTHER JACK McDUFF, ART NEVILLE, Jamaican great, JACKIE MITOO and JIMMY McGRIFF whose 1969 Capitol LP gave the French band their name.
METENIER and SOUL SUGAR (THOMAS NAIM, guitar and YVO ABADI, drums) are just putting the finishing touches to a new album – ‘Hands On’ – but in the meantime they’ve made available 6 tracks on a promotional EP. The extended player opens with a cover of DR SMITH’S ‘Witch Doctor’ and the respectful, loose and funky take is full of dark menace. The self-penned ‘Hit The 5’ is more pyrotechnical and features a wonderful 3 piece horn section – ETIENNE de la SAYETTE, SYLVAIN GONTARD and GEORGES PHILIPPE. Those horns feature on one of the set’s other outstanding cuts – a Dub Mix of JAMES BROWN’S ‘Theme From King Heroin’… haunting and imaginative, I’m sure the Godfather would approve! Much brighter is the collection’s other big cover – a retooling of the COXSONE DODD tune, ‘Drum Song’ – a huge Caribbean hit for JACKIE MITOO and the SOUL VENDORS.