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Marcus Shelby Orchestra: Soul Of The Movement Meditations On Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

San Francisco bassist/composer Marcus Shelby has made a memorable debut for Porto Franco Records entitled Soul Of The Movement Mediations On Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. , a stirring jazz recording consisting of Shelby's unique take on a couple of classic traditional tunes, five originals, as well as covering songs of some of jazz's most legendary players.

Shelby has put together a fine group of musicians including Matt Clark (B3 organ), Jeff Marrs (drums, percussion, vocals), Howard Wiley (tenor and soprano sax), Faye Carol (vocals), Jeannine Anderson (vocals) and Kenny Washington (vocals). Also playing on the album is his massive fifteen piece orchestra and I can tell you right now there are no wasted notes. This is music with a purpose and is as strong as the history it is based upon.

The music is inspired by the American Civil Rights Movement of the '50s and '60s and is in essence a jazz concept album. In some ways this is a continuation of his last two albums, Port Chicago and Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, where both albums also explored historical themes. With Soul Of Movement Shelby investigated the roots of the movement and his compositions reflect the hard work and dedication of the people who fought for social justice and those who denounced social injustice.

Soul Of The Movement has all the elements of a classic sounding jazz album and an excellent one at that, able to capture the essence of the movement through its swinging grooves. There is no guitar present save for Shelby's acoustic bass but that isn't a problem as the powerful brass orchestra and the many riveting solos make up for it spades. The brass playing is some of the best I have heard in a long while and really gets this music swinging. The album is a mixture of vocal and non-vocal tracks and both work well. Starting with the traditional "There is a Balm in Gilead", the album sets the tone for what is too come and features the excellent soprano of Jeannine Anderson along with the vocals of Faye Carol and Kenny Washington. The three vocalists also team up on a moving rendition of "Go Tell It on the Mountain" as well as on the soulful "Amen", a jazzed up gospel flavoured spiritual journey of the heart, featuring multiple sax and trumpet solos.

Other notables include the inspirational "Black Cab" where Shelby demonstrates his prowess on the bass as his fluid lines weave in and out through Adam Shulman's solo piano and Curtis Mayfield's "We're a Winner" featuring the soulful vocals of Carol and stellar Hammond by Matt Clark.

Shelby has clearly put his heart and soul into Soul Of The Movement, that comes across loud and clear. It is an inspiring ride that all jazz fans need to take.

Track Listing:
1. There is a Balm in Gilead (2:04)
2. Amen (6:44)
3. Emmett Till (Bobo) (5:31)
4. Black Cab (7:17)
5. Fables of Faubus (8:32)
6. We Shall Overcome (2:59)
7. Trouble on the Bus (Freedom Rides) (7:03)
8. Birmingham (Project C) (11:34)
9. Go Tell It on the Mountain (4:17)
10. We're a Winner (4:17)
11. Memphis (I am a Man) (8:06)
12. Take My Hand Precious Lord (6:37)

Added: February 6th 2011
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 1741
Language: english

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