From L to R: George Porter Jr., Warren Haynes, Eric Krasno, Nigel Hall, Neal Evans, Alan Evans, Nicki Bluhm
Soulive ended their 2014 Bowlive residency at the Brooklyn Bowl last night. The residency boasted sit-ins with DJ Logic, Nigel Hall, ?uestlove, Shmeans, George Porter Jr. Nicki Bluhm, Warren Haynes, Susan Tedeschi, Joe Russo, DMC, Talib Kweli and many more. The two-week event felt more like a showcase of what contemporary jazz musicians can stretch themselves to do.
Night one featured a strong handful of the aforementioned artists. DJ Logic sitting in certainly adds a different vibe from your typical jazz / funk ensemble. Logic shows how you can actually play the turntable as an instrument, completely separating himself from modern-day “DJ” culture.
Nigel Hall joined the crew on nights one and two, which brought a little bit of that Suwannee love to Brooklyn. I’m used to seeing Hall at our beloved music park, and to see him with a suit in New York as a part of Bowlive was a whole different Nigel.
The highest point of the residency, for me, was when Mr. Warren Haynes came straight from the Allman Brothers Band’s Beacon residency to perform most of the third set with Soulive. The first Friday was the only date they played three sets, and when they busted in to the Grateful Dead’s “Sugaree” followed by “How Sweet it is,” it was just incredible.
Soulive played a few of Beatles covers from their Rubber Soulive album, usually in the first set as the second song. “Come Together” and “Eleanor Rigby” each got a couple plays during the residency.
This past Thursday had the highest profile of guests with DMC (of Run DMC) and Talib Kweli. From Talib Kweli material to classic Run DMC joints, the night was a nod to hip-hop, making perfect sense with Alan Evan’s drum chops hitting harder than any drum machine could ever do. Neal Evan’s played double-duty with the bass keys and organ to give the tunes its highs and lows. And Eric Krasno kept licks coming for eight days straight, proving to be the most prolific of the bunch.
But jazz isn’t really about who’s the best, or who shines the most. So as Soulive’s three members brought out guest after guest throughout the residency, you could see the friendliness on stage. High-fives and smiles were shared as each musician came out, leaving you with the feeling that this was more of a family reunion than an obligatory “give the people what they want.”