When producer extraordinaire Jason Miles decided he wanted to collaborate with legendary session players Reggie Young, Steve Ferrone and Bob Babbitt (who are listed in the credits of some of America’s greatest offerings to modern music, including the Funk Brothers, Marvin Gaye, Tower of Power, Average White Band and many more), Soul Summit was born, a project initiated to have the ultimate rhythm section serve as an anchor for all-star cast of soul musicians.
Behind the swinging groove of Richard Elliot’s tenor sax the band nails a rendition “Shotgun” (a song made famous by Junior Walker). Then the tempo slows with the sultry, smooth vocals of Maysa and a seductive take on the Stax Recording artists’ Linda Lyndell’s “What a Man.” She is joined by the tenor sax of none other than modern day funk profit Karl Denson. Again Maysa and Denson join forces for his’ original number “Can You Feel It,” a number that grew in popularity amongst Tiny Universe fans and is refreshingly revamped with the sexy voice of Maysa and Reggie Young’s guitar work.
Susan Tedeschi seems to never fail. Delivering amazingly soulful vocals and she is hands down one of the most talented women pioneering guitar. Even though she never picks up her axe for this album, she contributes by the wheel-barrel load on “It’s Raining.” Reggie Young handles the guitar work, and the two meet again for a blisteringly hot version of “Son of a Preacher Man.”
With all of these great vocals it is hard to believe that one of the most exciting numbers is the instrumental composition of Herbie Mann’s “Memphis Underground,” Denson’s flute soaring over Sharrod Barnes’ guitar and Bob Babbit’s grooving bass line.
If you are a lover of classic soul music, then Soul Summit is a must have. It courageously takes on some classics and brings the chops to do them justice. Fans of Karl Denson and Susan Tedeschi should certainly pick it up, and learn about the icons playing here. If you are not familiar with any of the artists then it will serve as a welcome invitation to some greatness new and old alike.
Soul Summit is out now on Shanachie.