The Rebel Souls second CD shows them quite adept at many styles of instrumental music, including neo-bop, high life, stealth grooves, and even ska. Drummer Sirota leads this Chicago based quintet plus guests through eight original compositions that are played with a spirit and competence that goes beyond their name recognition. The CD kicks off with the jumpin' ska grooves of "Geronimo's Free" with the band augmented by bass trumpeter Ryan Schultz. There's hard swinging selections like "Ten" on a level rivaling Scofield-Brecker-Metheny-Lovano in sound and stance, and the scorching finale "Hemiola." These contrast with the Kevin Kizer tenor sax led waltz "Carolynn's Blues" and the ballad "Lonely People" with Kizer and guitarist Jeff Parker chiming in. The sneaky number is "Little Spots" another of the Parker compositions, while the African groove of "La Danse de Janvier" adds percussionist Ruben Alvarez. Rob Mazurek plays a lot of muted cornet through the date, and bassist Noel Kupersmith is his usual reliable self. This is quite a democratic band making new music that taps from many sources, but stays true to its collective self. Solos have creative tinges, and the music is held together by a unified concept. Those searching for something new within the contemporary arena of modern jazz should find this recording quite refreshing, and we highly recommend it.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos