Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1093

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The Soul Immigrants : Pizza Express Holborn 10/1/2019

Soul 1
Soul 1

If tonight's gig is anything to go by then 2019 is going to be a corker of a year for this long standing band.This impressively versatile and cohesive outfit strode through tough funky rhythms with assuredness and heaps of energy.This was a barnstorming gig at this relatively new gem of a venue and the crowd reacted accordingly. Baird,a fellow scibe, was in fine form, a natural frontman and engrossing entertainer, regaling funny stories about his radio interview with Robert Elms the day before.If all else fails he could try his luck at stand-up,however judging by tonight's performance he's probably better off sticking to his stock and trade grooving.

This band don't pander to the audience either the first 30 minutes was all instrumentals,shakey to begin with as they felt the room and then concentrated and focussed as their confidence grew.They are no one trick pony either, bass player, Al Gibson and drummer, David Bouet held down a tight rhythmic cohesiveness and it's a fat impressive sound whether it be on latin,soul or funk excursions. Special guest guitarist Ciyo Brown (curiously placed out in the shadows of the stage) added that jazzy finesse with Benson tones,impressive chops,startling at times with trenchant soloing being a particular highlight throughout the evening.

Second set saw a more effusive all embracing start.Baird chivvied up the pizza chompers and got the room singing along,he's a ringmaster who knows exactly when to crack the whip and gee up the listeners and Dee Byrne's alto sax was stinging.She's another one who is forging ahead (with her own outfit Entropi) she has that rawness, an untutored sound, a kind of jazz heavy Maceo,who blew up an absolute storm during her serpentine soloing. Whilst many bands on the funk & soul scene are happy to go through the motions and coast, these guys are capable of ramping it up and you can see they really enjoy what they do.It's entertaining stuff so look out for their long awaited, new album later in the year.If tonight is anything to go by it should be good!
Words LEO ISAACS

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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