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Soulive is a funk/jazz trio that originated in Woodstock, New York, and is known for its solos and catchy, upbeat songs. The band consists of Eric Krasno (guitar), Alan Evans (drums) and Neal Evans (Hammond B3 organ, bass keys, clavinet). Although they originated as a trio, the band has worked extensively with different horn sections, which have included Sam Kininger (saxophone) from 2000 to 2003, Rashawn Ross (trumpet), and Ryan Zoidis (saxophone) from 2003 to 2006. The band also worked with vocalist Toussaint Yeshua from 2006 to 2007. Soulive is currently touring in the original trio lineup of Eric Krasno, Alan Evans, and Neal Evans.
|Origin||Buffalo, New York, USA|
|Genres||Soul jazz, jazz funk, jazz fusion, soul music|
|Years active||1999 – present|
|Labels||Velour Recordings, Blue Note, Concord, Stax|
|Associated acts||John Scofield, Playonbrother, The Elements, Lettuce, Toussaint Yeshua, Pretty Lights, Reggie Watts|
|Past members||Toussaint Yeshua|
In the 90s, brothers Alan and Neal Evans had been the rhythm section for the Northeastern jam band Moon Boot Lover with front man Peter Prince. After a brief foray into rap with Edreys aka Billy Drease Williams under the name The Elements, the brothers looked to form a traditional jazz organ trio. On March 2, 1999, Alan and Neal invited guitarist Eric Krasno (a friend they knew from high school days) to record some tracks with them in their home studio in Woodstock, New York. That jam session became their first album, Get Down! and the band shortly thereafter hit the road to begin touring. It was during that first summer together that the band recorded their first LP, Turn It Out, for Velour Recordings. Turn It Out featured various guest musicians, including John Scofield, Oteil Burbridge, and Sam Kininger. The independently produced album went on to sell 65,000 copies, enabling Soulive to gain recognition in the jazz/funk scene.
In the next three years, Soulive embarked on five national tours. The band opened for The Rolling Stones, Dave Matthews Band, The Roots, Common, John Mayer, and others. The band also continued to play at various festivals, including the Monterey Jazz Festival and Bonnaroo. Overseas, Soulive played shows in Japan and all over Europe.
In the fall of 2000, Soulive signed a record deal with Blue Note Records. The following spring, Soulive released its first Blue Note album, Doin' Something, which featured horn arrangements by Fred Wesley, the trombonist from James Brown's band. The band's second Blue Note record, Next, featured guest vocalists Dave Matthews and Amel Larrieux, and rappers Talib Kweli and Black Thought. During this time, the band also recorded with singer-songwriter Goapele Mohlabane.
In 2003, Soulive released a self-titled live album, Soulive (Live), and a collection of remixes, Turn It Out Remixed, which featured guests Jurassic 5, DJ Spinna, DJ Krush, J-Live, Wordsworth, and the Beatnuts.
On September 13, 2005, Soulive released its first album with Concord Records, Break Out. On this release the band eschewed extended jams for beat-driven instrumentals and collaborations with Chaka Khan (featured on "Back Again"), Ivan Neville (featured on "Got Soul" and "Take It Easy"), Corey Glover (featured on "Freedom"), Robert Randolph (featured on the Jimi Hendrix cover "Crosstown Traffic" and also on "Interlude II"), and Reggie Watts (featured on "She's Hooked" and "What Can You Do?").
Late in 2006 the group recorded No Place Like Soul with producer Stewart Lerman at his studio in Greenwich Village, The Shinebox. The album was released on Stax Records, which had been absorbed into Concord. On that album and the subsequent tour, Boston based reggae/soul artist Toussaint joined band as lead vocalist. However, after the tour, the band decided to become a trio yet again. In a post to the Soulive messageboard, Alan Evans explained: "we just want to have fun. no more chasing the pop thing or whatever that is. We just want to go out and rage, no setlists, no huge venues, no tour buses. Just have fun. This is not to say we didn't have fun with tours, we did but we realized that in looking at our past... We have had the most success and most fun when it was just the trio."
Soulive released a new album, "Up Here", on April 14, 2009. The album marked somewhat of a return to form for the group, as many of the songs are solely instrumentals. For this album, they were joined once again by Ryan Zoidis on tenor sax, Sam Kininger on alto sax - who are now under the alias/moniker "The Shady Horns" - as well as appearances by Rashawn Ross on trumpet. Nigel Hall also guests on the track "Too Much".
In 2010 the band released an album of Beatles covers entitled Rubber Soulive. Neal Evans said in an interview, "We had a ton of different concept albums that we wanted to do over the years, including a ‘British Invasion’ album....When it came time to make a record we decided to follow through with the Beatles concept."
Starting in 2010, Soulive has held an annual two-week, ten-night residency at the Brooklyn Bowl. The shows run from Tuesday to Saturday, each night involving a different opening act consisting of a myriad of both announced and unannounced guest musicians. Rarely has Soulive played as a trio during these shows—a horn section called "The Shady Horns," has almost always joined them on stage. The players have changed slightly over the years, but the section usually includes Ryan Zoidis on tenor and baritone saxophones and Sam Kininger on alto saxophone.
Some of the guest musicians have included:
- Bowlive I (2010) – Oteil Burbridge, Questlove, Marco Benevento, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Talib Kweli, The London Souls, Lettuce
- Bowlive II (2011) – Robert Randolph, John Scofield, Karl Denson, Ivan Neville, Matisyahu, Bernie Worrell, Taylor Hicks, Kofi Burbridge, Lettuce, Corey Glover
- Bowlive III (2012) – John Scofield, Karl Denson, George Porter Jr., Marco Benevento, Citizen Cope, Allen Stone, Derek Trucks, Lettuce, Questlove, Luther Dickinson
- Bowlive IV (2013) - Luther Dickinson, Robert Randolph, Lee Fields, Marco Benevento, David Hidalgo (Los Lobos), George Porter Jr.
- Bowlive V (2014) - George Porter Jr., Nicki Bluhm, John Scofield, Susan Tedeschi, Joe Russo, Darryl McDaniels (Run-DMC), Talib Kweli
- Bowlive VI (2015) - Marco Benevento, George Porter Jr., Anders Osborne, Chris Robinson, Jennifer Hartswick, Aaron Neville
- Bowlive VII (2017) - Karl Denson, Steve Kimock, Doyle Bramhall II, John Scofield, George Porter Jr., Marcus King, GRiZ, Son Little
|Get Down! (EP)||1999 [re-released 2002]||Soulive Records; Velour Recordings|
|Turn It Out||2000 [re-released 2002]||Velour Recordings|
|Doin' Something||2001||Blue Note|
|Soulive [live]||2003||Blue Note|
|Turn It Out Remixed||2003||Velour Recordings|
|Steady Groovin' (compilation)||2005||Blue Note|
|No Place Like Soul||2007||Stax Records|
|Up Here||2009||Royal Family Records|
|Live in San Francisco||2009||Royal Family Records|
|Live at the Blue Note Tokyo||2010||Royal Family Records|
|Rubber Soulive||2010||Royal Family Records|
|Spark! (with Karl Denson)||2012||Royal Family Records|
|Cinematics, Vol. 1 (EP)||2018||Soulive Music|
- "Sam Kininger Biography". Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "The Shady Horns (artist bio)". Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "Artist Guide: Soulive". Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "Soulive (artist bio)". Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- Edwards, Michael J. (October 2010). "Interview: Soulive 2010". UK Vibe. Archived from the original on March 25, 2016. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
- "Soulive to Open for Rolling Stones". 3 September 2006. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "Soulive on MSG". 28 June 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
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- "Soulive: Vocals are the new Soul — Interview". JamBase. July 31, 2007. Archived from the original on March 15, 2017. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
- "Soulive messageboard". Archived from the original on February 25, 2009.
- "Newport Jazz 2008: Soulive With Fred Wesley". NPR Music (National Public Radio). August 26, 2008. Archived from the original on August 16, 2014. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
- O'Keefe, Timothy J. (August 10, 2008). "2008 Newport Jazz Festival: Finale!". AllAboutJazz.com. Archived from the original on March 15, 2017. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
- "Soulive To Headline MLS All-Star Jam Concert". MLSsoccer.com. 23 January 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- Halo, Martin (January 3, 2011). "Soulive 'A Day in the Life of Neal Evans'". TheWaster.com. Archived from the original on January 24, 2016. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
- Scheisel, Seth (9 March 2011). "The 10 Night Intergalactic Funk Odyssey". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 January 2014.