Solomon Burke

Live at Montreux 2006

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Within the first five minutes of this document of Solomon Burke on-stage at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2006, the R&B giant has instructed his horn section to put down their instruments and sing along, coached the trombone and sax players through brief solos, discussed his luck at the gaming tables earlier in the day, wished a happy birthday to several people in attendance, and told everyone present that they're in for a serious party, all while swinging through a blustery arrangement of "Baby What You Want Me to Do." Burke, the self-described King of Rock & Soul, was an outsized personality if there ever was such a thing, and his persona is as much of an attraction on this live album as his voice. Thankfully, Burke's instrument was big and joyous enough to keep up with his reputation, and the showman sounds like he's having a splendid time as he sings great songs from all phases of his career, with a mighty band backing him up. Whether Burke is trying to get people dancing ("Got to Get You Off My Mind/Having a Party"), drowning in his tears ("Just Out of Reach"), praising the Lord ("May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You"), or telling tall tales ("Diamond in Your Mind"), he delivers nothing less than total commitment during this set, and the crowd is with him all the way. 1983's excellent Soul Alive! documents a somewhat more disciplined performance from Burke that's dominated by his hits, but if you want to hear Burke on a night when he was getting happy and taking the audience along with him, Live at Montreux 2006 will do the trick.

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