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Soul Brass Band: Levels

The multi-talented Derrick Freeman (percussionist, singer, pianist, songwriter) studied under the tutelage of Ellis Marsalis and Harold Batiste, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Jazz Studies at the University of New Orleans. He has a number of solo albums to his credit and is also the leader of the ensemble Soul Brass Band, with a new album under their belts titled Levels.

On the album Freeman has surrounded himself with a stellar cast of musicians. Freeman himself supplies in the pocket grooves while the rest of the band exudes a joyous brass sound; the brass and woodwinds exert a joyous optimism that just feels good. Freeman also injects soulful vocals on three tracks, an invitation into his R&B flavoured world. The first song “Open Your Eyes” sounds like a huge party that oozes that New Orleans brass vibe. It’s a classic sound with deep bass grooves, an excellent solo spot by trombonist Michael Watson and layers of brass with a superb melody to boot. Freeman’s work on the kit is also highlight material. More fantastic stick work can be heard on the title track where the band revs up the funky soul. Freeman’s gravelly voice adds that much more soul into the mix. Add to that excellent trumpet and tenor sax solos from Ricio Fruge and James Martin respectively and you have the makings of another great tune. Another highlight has to be the luxurious trombone solo by Corey Henry in the melodic “How Far We Come”. This one carries a slight Latin vibe, especially in the brass workings.

There are no duds in this one as every tune is solid and the delivery is infectious. Energetic, lively and joyous are just a few words to describe this excellent album. Recommended.

Track Listing:
1. Open Your Eyes
2. Levels
3. How Far We Come
4. Circles
5. Everything
6. Dark Corners
7. Ease On Down The Road
8. Rendezvous

Added: September 3rd 2019
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 661
Language: english

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