Monday, July 5, 2010

Bradley Leighton - Soul Collective Review
By Ronald Jackson

Flutist Bradley Leighton has covered a lot of turf in his career as far as citing musical influences is concerned. He’s covered Charlie Parker and even rolled through a little Tower of Power. Here on his 2008 release, Soul Collective, the flutist seems to travel back to his Back to the Funk release as he unleashes some coolly rhythmic and oft funky material on us.
The album runs the gamut for groovable tracks. The opening cut, “It’s On,” has a really nice hook and decidedly smooth yet funky feel while “CafĂ© Con Leche” has that appealingly rhythmic and exotic Latin touch. Funk takes center stage with “Wake Up Call” and its sassy swagger. Covers like “She’s Gone,” “Ode to Billy Joe,” and “Keep That Same Ol’ Feeling” are dealt with adeptly and with precision. Vocalist Paula Prophet, who is expected to release her debut sometime this year, offers her “That Man,” which has that early Motown/Martha Reeves kinda groove, and it works…well.

With guest help from Greg Adams, Tom Braxton, Jason Miles, Evan Marks, and Tom Scott, this project came gift-wrapped and set to please. It’s quite obvious that the stellar gathering prompted the album’s name and character.

It’s amazing what the flute has been able to offer in the world of jazz. From Laws to Najee to Zonjic to Leighton and many more, we have come to experience the texture and sweetness that the instrument adds to the genre. Soul Collective speaks to just how fortunate we are to have that experience.

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