Soulive is one of the greatest, groovin’-est trios in modern music. The incomparable Fred Wesley adds the icing on the cake.
Eric Krasno along with brothers Alan and Neil Evans honed their guitar, percussion, and keyboard skills at Berklee College of Music. The funk/jazz trio that originated in Woodstock, New York, and is known for its solos and catchy, upbeat songs. Although they originated as a trio, the band has worked extensively with different horn sections, which have included Sam Kininger (saxophone) from 2000 to 2003, Rashawn Ross (trumpet), and Ryan Zoidis (saxophone) from 2003 to 2006. The band also worked with vocalist Toussaint Yeshua from 2006 to 2007. Their first LP, Turn It Out featured various guest musicians, including John Scofield, Oteil Burbridge, and Sam Kininger. The independently produced album went on to sell 65,000 copies, enabling Soulive to gain recognition in the jazz/funk scene.
In the next three years, Soulive embarked on five national tours. The band opened for The Rolling Stones, Dave Matthews Band, The Roots, Common, John Mayer, and others. The band also continued to play at various festivals, including the Monterey Jazz Festival and Bonnaroo. Overseas, Soulive played shows in Japan and all over Europe.
In the fall of 2000, Soulive signed a record deal with Blue Note Records. The following spring, Soulive released its first Blue Note album, Doin’ Something, which featured horn arrangements by Fred Wesley, the trombonist from James Brown’s band.
During the 1960s and 1970s Fred Wesley was a pivotal member of James Brown’s bands, playing on many hit recordings including “Say it Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud,” “Mother Popcorn” and co-writing tunes such as “Hot Pants.” His slippery riffs and pungent, precise solos, complementing those of saxophonist Maceo Parker, gave Brown’s R&B, soul, and funk tunes their instrumental punch. In the 1970s he also served as band leader and musical director of Brown’s band the J.B.’s and did much of the composing and arranging for the group. His name was credited on ‘Fred Wesley & the J.B.’s’ recording of “Doing It to Death,” which sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in July 1973. He left Brown’s band in 1975 and spent several years playing with George Clinton’s various Parliament-Funkadelic projects, even recording a couple of albums as the leader of a spin-off group, The Horny Horns.
Check out some Soulive playing classic soul music with Fred Wesley: