Soulive w/ N'Dambi- April 18th, 2002
N'dambi opened the show with Kraz, Neal and Alan backing her. She start by belting slow ballads which exercised her Ella-like voice, and eventually moved towards a faster paced sound that got the crowd moving. Towards the end of her act, N'dambi incorporated 2 saxophones and a trombone to her smooth melody, as Sam Kinninger joined the collaboration and brought the house down. What was once a simple mix of keys, drums and guitar, has now gotten more sophisticated as a horn section, a dj and a rapper named Shuman have all now found their niche in the Soulive lineup.
Soulive's main set was introduced by a booming, "And now for our feature presentation." They came out slamming with "Steppin'" and an intense mix of keys and precise drum beats. Eric Krasno's head bobbing echoed the the steady movements of his flying fingers as the crowd's clapping increased. Like a kind of gospel funk, the keys rang out high and loud behind Alan's "Ya'll ready to get down??!!"
"Doin' Something" kept the clapping going as a strong sax solo from Sam brought the tempo up and allowed the crowd to get down. Abstract blasts from the horn section gave way to a new kind of funkiness that took the music to new levels.
When Kraz approached "Cannonball" he was ready to get loose. This tune left the crowd flailing - filling evetry square inch of space in the House of Blues with arms and legs. An intense musical revelation during "Cannonball" led to a very jazzy version of "Bridge to Bama." The DJ emerged once again for this remixed version, as the trombone got his feet wet with a compelling solo. "Flurries" added a quick and light tone as if the instruments were speaking words instead of playing notes.
N'dambi rejoined the group just before the encore. She sang "Romantic" off of Soulive's second album, "Doin' Soemthing" as the DJ added layers to the groove. Ending with "Sex Machine" by the notorious James Brown was certainly a welcome surprise. People were jumping to the commands of, "Get on Up," and adding to the rhythm of dancing feet on the main floor.
Soulive's show brought the energy that we all expect to see at Jazzfest...only one more week to go!
For more info on Soulive see soulive.com.