Randy Brecker / Bill Evans Soulbop featuring Medeski, Martin & Wood
The name is right on the one. Funk and jazz are sons of the same African-American family. Different personalities with a lot of common ground underneath the surface. Joining these styles together, it comes in handy, if you have played with the best of both genres. That holds true to the leaders – trumpetist Randy Brecker and saxist Bill Evans – of this evolving project as well as their newly found rhythm section Martin, Medeski & Wood.
During Soulbop’s very successful six years they have featured guests, like bass man Darryl Jones, trumpet star Terence Blanchard and guitarist Hiram Bullock. The excellent Soulbop Band, Live (2005) gives you a nice taste of their groove.
Starting in Blood, Sweat & Tears and the Brecker Brothers – both pioneering fusion bands – Randy Brecker has led several groups and recorded with them profusely. He has honed his formidable vision with Mingus, Horace Silver and Jaco Pastorius as well as with Zappa, Lou Reed and George Clinton. Concentrating on tenor and soprano, Bill Evans came to fame in the 80’s as the favoured saxist of the Miles Davis band. You can also hear him on records by Henrbie Hancock, John McLaughlin, Les McCann, Willie Nelson and Mick Jagger, not to mention his own bands. The bluegrass-oriented Soulgrass album (2005) gives you a good insight into how Evans wants to investigate other styles through jazz.
Medeski, Martin & Wood have for the last 20 years been one of the most exciting contemporary jazz bands, who constantly broaden their scope by tieing the threads of jazz into elements of funk, rock, blues, reggae and soundtrack music.