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East Bay Soul

3.7 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

The mega funky East Bay Soul is the brainchild of Grammy and Emmy nominated trumpeter Greg Adams and although initially assembled with live dates in mind the band has just released its eponymously titled debut CD. This hugely talented line-up has its roots firmly grounded in the uniquely soul based genre of San Francisco s East Bay area and as a consequence delivers tight horn filled rhythms that are both entirely timeless and totally to die for. Of course Adams is a founding member of the wonderful Tower of Power and here, as East Bay Soul, he is joined by another ex Tower of Power stalwart, trumpeter Lee Thornburg. The East Bay Soul roster is completed by Joey Navarro on keyboards, Evan Stone on drums, Brian Allen on bass, James Wirrick on guitar, Johnny Sandoval on percussion plus Johnnie Bamont, Michael Paulo and Greg Vail on alto, tenor and baritone saxophones. Suffice to say that the combination is nothing short of magical. East Bay Soul begins exactly as it means to continue with the high octane Survival Of The Hippest . Written by Adams the tune is lifted by a sweet-wise rap from Tom Bowes and when Bowes returns for Someone New he provides an emotionally crafted vocal that it is surpassed only by Adams own spectacular playing on flugelhorn. This perfect balance of instrumental and vocal is maintained throughout and the heartfelt iHope , as well as being intensely rhythmic, also showcases the fantastic singing voice of Darryl Walker. He returns to add a little soul to the zesty Awaken which is co-written by Adams and the hugely underrated Alan Hewitt. With a radio ready vibe that is very indicative of Hewitt s writing style it proves the versatility that East Bay Soul abundantly has and the fact the band is just as effective when the tempo is notched down is ably demonstrated by the jazzily smoky What s It Gonna Be . Evan Stone on drums comes up big and when the band turns its attention to the soulful swagger of Jump, Shout And Holler it is a great vocal from Sean Holt that takes the honors. Always Takes Two possesses all the horn driven excitement you will ever need whilst Bop Drop turns out to be a jazzy bridge to the deliciously urban Reading Lips . Here Bowes makes his third superb vocal contribution, Adams is again outstanding and the horn section completely blows the doors off. It turns out to be a stellar cut in a collection crammed full of them and in this respect is in the excellent company of the stunning Stop which, as well as being outrageously off the chain , also shimmers with luscious horns and Thornburg s immensely soulful vocals. However, all things considered, the Smooth Jazz Therapy top track is the understated Greg Adams James Wirrick composition Five To Eleven . This evocative mellow gem has, much like the entire album, all the attributes of being a real keeper --Denis Poole - Smooth Jazz Therapy

The mega funky East Bay Soul is the brainchild of Grammy and Emmy nominated trumpeter Greg Adams and although initially assembled with live dates in mind the band has just released its eponymously titled debut CD. This hugely talented line-up has its roots firmly grounded in the uniquely soul based genre of San Francisco s East Bay area and as a consequence delivers tight horn filled rhythms that are both entirely timeless and totally to die for. Of course Adams is a founding member of the wonderful Tower of Power and here, as East Bay Soul, he is joined by another ex Tower of Power stalwart, trumpeter Lee Thornburg. The East Bay Soul roster is completed by Joey Navarro on keyboards, Evan Stone on drums, Brian Allen on bass, James Wirrick on guitar, Johnny Sandoval on percussion plus Johnnie Bamont, Michael Paulo and Greg Vail on alto, tenor and baritone saxophones. Suffice to say that the combination is nothing short of magical. East Bay Soul begins exactly as it means to continue with the high octane Survival Of The Hippest . Written by Adams the tune is lifted by a sweet-wise rap from Tom Bowes and when Bowes returns for Someone New he provides an emotionally crafted vocal that it is surpassed only by Adams own spectacular playing on flugelhorn. This perfect balance of instrumental and vocal is maintained throughout and the heartfelt iHope , as well as being intensely rhythmic, also showcases the fantastic singing voice of Darryl Walker. He returns to add a little soul to the zesty Awaken which is co-written by Adams and the hugely underrated Alan Hewitt. With a radio ready vibe that is very indicative of Hewitt s writing style it proves the versatility that East Bay Soul abundantly has and the fact the band is just as effective when the tempo is notched down is ably demonstrated by the jazzily smoky What s It Gonna Be . Evan Stone on drums comes up big and when the band turns its attention to the soulful swagger of Jump, Shout And Holler it is a great vocal from Sean Holt that takes the honors. Always Takes Two possesses all the horn driven excitement you will ever need whilst Bop Drop turns out to be a jazzy bridge to the deliciously urban Reading Lips . Here Bowes makes his third superb vocal contribution, Adams is again outstanding and the horn section completely blows the doors off. It turns out to be a stellar cut in a collection crammed full of them and in this respect is in the excellent company of the stunning Stop which, as well as being outrageously off the chain , also shimmers with luscious horns and Thornburg s immensely soulful vocals. However, all things considered, the Smooth Jazz Therapy top track is the understated Greg Adams James Wirrick composition Five To Eleven . This evocative mellow gem has, much like the entire album, all the attributes of being a real keeper --Denis Poole - Smooth Jazz Therapy

The mega funky East Bay Soul is the brainchild of Grammy and Emmy nominated trumpeter Greg Adams and although initially assembled with live dates in mind the band has just released its eponymously titled debut CD. This hugely talented line-up has its roots firmly grounded in the uniquely soul based genre of San Francisco s East Bay area and as a consequence delivers tight horn filled rhythms that are both entirely timeless and totally to die for. Of course Adams is a founding member of the wonderful Tower of Power and here, as East Bay Soul, he is joined by another ex Tower of Power stalwart, trumpeter Lee Thornburg. The East Bay Soul roster is completed by Joey Navarro on keyboards, Evan Stone on drums, Brian Allen on bass, James Wirrick on guitar, Johnny Sandoval on percussion plus Johnnie Bamont, Michael Paulo and Greg Vail on alto, tenor and baritone saxophones. Suffice to say that the combination is nothing short of magical. East Bay Soul begins exactly as it means to continue with the high octane Survival Of The Hippest . Written by Adams the tune is lifted by a sweet-wise rap from Tom Bowes and when Bowes returns for Someone New he provides an emotionally crafted vocal that it is surpassed only by Adams own spectacular playing on flugelhorn. This perfect balance of instrumental and vocal is maintained throughout and the heartfelt iHope , as well as being intensely rhythmic, also showcases the fantastic singing voice of Darryl Walker. He returns to add a little soul to the zesty Awaken which is co-written by Adams and the hugely underrated Alan Hewitt. With a radio ready vibe that is very indicative of Hewitt s writing style it proves the versatility that East Bay Soul abundantly has and the fact the band is just as effective when the tempo is notched down is ably demonstrated by the jazzily smoky What s It Gonna Be . Evan Stone on drums comes up big and when the band turns its attention to the soulful swagger of Jump, Shout And Holler it is a great vocal from Sean Holt that takes the honors. Always Takes Two possesses all the horn driven excitement you will ever need whilst Bop Drop turns out to be a jazzy bridge to the deliciously urban Reading Lips . Here Bowes makes his third superb vocal contribution, Adams is again outstanding and the horn section completely blows the doors off. It turns out to be a stellar cut in a collection crammed full of them and in this respect is in the excellent company of the stunning Stop which, as well as being outrageously off the chain , also shimmers with luscious horns and Thornburg s immensely soulful vocals. However, all things considered, the Smooth Jazz Therapy top track is the understated Greg Adams James Wirrick composition Five To Eleven . This evocative mellow gem has, much like the entire album, all the attributes of being a real keeper --Denis Poole - Smooth Jazz Therapy
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 22, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ripa Records
  • ASIN: B002KBNEXC
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,449 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Antonio Silva on February 26, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Greg Adams recent release, East Bay Soul, comes out of the box smoking and never lets up. Split between vocals and instrumentals, Adams reached back and brought that funky, urban soul sound back from his past, yet when he mutes his trumpet he can slice through you like a hot knife through butter.

For the unschooled, Greg Adams was a founding member, and the horn arranger for 25 years, with the legendary soul -funk - R&B horn band from Oakland, CA; the Tower of Power. During those years, and still today, Adams not only arranged just about all of the Tower songs on all of their albums, but he has also arranged the horns and recorded on hundreds (yes, that's hundreds) of other artist's recordings for 25 years with the TOP Horns, but also since he has been on his own. His arrangements have their own brand and style. Between his horn chops and his writing abilities, he's just one of the absolute best in the business....hands down.

Adams left Tower of Power about 11 years ago and East Bay Soul is his fifth solo release. His first four were also great recordings that leaned more towards the smooth jazz sound, but here he takes us back...all the way back to his roots....to the Bay Area. Make no mistake, the horn section on this recording is front and center, and it consists of Adams, former Tower bandmate Lee Thornburg, Johnnie Bamont, Michael Paulo & Greg Vail. Several different vocalist appear on the CD, including Tom Bowes, former lead vocalist for Tower of Power back in the early 90's and Thornburg, whose vocal simply kicks butt on the R&B classic "Stop". Darryl Walker's vocal also soars on the moving "iHope".
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Greg Adams' journey goes back to TOP years back in the early 70's and since then this versatile trumpeter come a long way. "East Bay Soul" in a way reflects his extense career exploring different styles and textures. Surrounded by an impressive crew, Adams is not afraid to approach a variety of genres. "Survival of the hippest" with its raw beat and brief rap by vocalist Tom Bowes proves that from the beginning. Other songs like "Reading lips", "Jump, shout and holler", "I Hope" and "Someone new" also have vocals by Darryl Walker, Sean Holt and Lee Thornburg, besides Bowes but probably the most brilliant moments belong to the wind section (Michael Paulo alto sax, Johnnie Bamont tenor & baritone sax, Lee Thornburg trumpet & trombone and of course Greg Adams in trumpet and flugelhorn). Tight arrangements and exquisite trumpet & sax solos by Adams and his partners make the day. "Always take two" excels in this department as well as "Awaken". There's a couple of smooth jazz pleasers, the very cool "Five to Eleven" and "What's it gonna be" and even a short straight-ahead jazz in "Bop Drop". Nick Milo and Joey Navarro in keyboards with Milo partnering Adams in the rhythm arrangements, James Wirrick guitar, Brian Allen bass, Evan Stone drums and Johnny Sandoval percussion complete the rest of this outstanding band. Recorded and mixed to perfection by Carmen Grillo "East Bay Soul" is full circle for a gifted musician like Greg Adams a true survivor of an era where rhythm sections ruled.
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A founding member of TOP (Tower of Power), Greg Adams takes you back...but not all the way back. He adds that special something...his own touch, that separates him and his wonderful 21st century troubadours from the rest. There are no audio samples, but if you are familiar with Greg's music, just think "Roadhouse" with vocals. Remember, this is East Bay Soul...so it showcases the talents of all of the members of the band and they've done a fantastic job. Great vocals in Reading Lips, with a similar rhythm rolling into Jump, Shout and Holler and the stylings of Sean Holt. Don't forget your flugel in What's It Gonna Be. My favs: Awaken and Five to Eleven (very sweet flugel and trombone).

You know Greg's work or you wouldn't be reading this. I say, don't pay any attention to the naysayers on this review board. Try it on for size and make your own decision. The Feb. 1 reviewer is really melodramatic in his description of what was SO wrong with this CD. It just astounds me that one would spend so much time and energy on something they don't like. Opinions on music is very subjective...decide for yourself. Enjoy!
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Format: Audio CD
I have to admit that I prefer instrumental jazz to vocal, but I like the occassional vocal tracks that smooth jazz artists use.
This album was a real disappointment--almost all vocals. No covers that I know of. There was only one track (#10) that gave us
the Greg Adams of previous albums.
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As an entire project one did appreciate its variation with several standout pieces on this album; however, on balance it did feel a bit flat as it did not exude both the energy and enthusiasm that is indeed a hallmark of Mr. Adams previous recording.
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Always creative, you can count on Greg Adams to deliver smooth jazz with a twist that dares to think outside of the box.

Stand-out tracks: What's It Gonna Be, Always Take Two, Survival Of The Hippest.

Bravo!
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