Genre Spotlight: What’s New in Soul & Jazz
Sometimes the big releases in indie rock tend to over shadow other releases, so it’s hard to know exactly what’s out in other genres. In this post, I want to highlight a couple great releases in the soul/funk/jazz area of things. One of these releases comes from Kansas Citian, Chris Hazelton–his Chris Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7 put out three 45s that have that swing. The other is a Light in The Attic release, Wheedle’s Groove.
Chris Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7 operates at the more accessible end of the People’s Liberation Big Band’s spectrum–relying on groove-centric arrangements punctuated by guitar and horn leads. Underneath the tracks, Chris Hazelton’s Hammond Organ keeps the core hot. It’s classic tone drenches each track without overpowering the lush and varied melodies.
Each of the three 45s contains music that lands within the summery side of lounge. While these songs tease into more complicated and esoteric sides, they are easy to follow for even the most casual of jazz listeners. If you’re looking to get into jazz records, look no further than Chris Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7.
At the other end of the spectrum (in terms of space and time) is Wheedle’s Groove. The classic compilation of Seattle’s Soul and Funk scenes from 1965 to 1975 is back on wax and sounds every bit as fresh today as it did when it first came out. While some compilations waver in terms of consistent quality, Wheedle’s Groove is hot from start to end.
The compilation is full of blasting horn hits, percussion that rides at the front of the mix, and vocals that absolutely howl. One of the best examples of these vocals come from Ron Buford’s “Deep Soul Pt 1.” The track rides through its complex rhythms while Buford gives James Brown a run for his money.
Even on tracks without vocals, Wheedle’s Groove absolutely drips in funk-tastic soul. The Johny Lewis Trio does a cover of “Cissy Strut” that accentuates the complex subtlety of funk drumming. Set up front, the drums pull the rest of the band along the curves and hills of the strut. Seriously, the drums are more active than that last scene in Whiplash. Combining the drumming with an organ that doesn’t quite, “Cissy Strut,” in the hands of The Johnny Lewis Trio, transforms from funk classic into a heated anthem.
Chris Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7 offers a heated take on loungier jazz, which makes any of the 45s ideal for a soundtrack to the (hopefully quickly approaching) summer and the porch sits it inspires. Wheedle’s Groove offers a snapshot of Seattle’s funk/soul scene from ’65 to ’75–an excellent way to find a way (back) into soul.
Both Wheedle’s Groove and Chris Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7′s 45s are perfect for those new to soul/funk and jazz or for someone looking to bolster their collection.