JASON MILES AND GUESTS: Soul Summit (Label: Shanachie)

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Last Spring award-winning producer Jason Miles put together a stellar band to play the Berks Jazz Festival in Reading Pennsylvania. His players included Bob Babbitt, Karl Denson, Richard Elliott, Reggie Young and Steve Ferrone – who between them have played on dozens of classic soul cuts. Add to those the vocal talents of Maysa, Susan Tedeschi and Mike Mattison and you have a fail safe recipe for the good groove. Playing a selection of soul covers and handful of originals, the vibe the collective cooked up was such that Miles took them straight off to the studio to make a ‘”proper” recording of the proceedings and though he was originally going to call the album ‘Can You Feel It’, there was so much righteousness in the music that he changed the overall title to ‘Soul Summit’ – and listening to the live, organic grooves on the 11 tracker you realize why he made the change. Things kick off with a version of Junior Walker’s ‘Shotgun’ on which Richard Elliot cooks up the same rockin’, raucous grooves as the tune’s original creator and the proceedings end with a big James Brown medley featuring the whole ensemble. In between there’s southern style soul with ‘Son Of A Preacher Man’ ‘and ‘What A Man’ , groove-riding instrumentals in ‘Memphis 2000’ and ‘Chicken And Waffles’, and a blistering ballad, ‘It Tears Me Up’. Best cut though is the original tune ‘Can You Feel It’. Here Karl Denson’s tenor tracks Maysa’s emotive vocal on a recording that manages to capture all the live energy of true, one-take soul music… now with the wonder of the web you can watch some of the proceedings too – go to www.youtube.com/soulsummitchannel
(BB) 4/5