Rhythm of the Soul
With a nod to such towering figures as Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire and Tower of Power, the Dave Weckl Band presents Rhythm of the Soul (Stretch Records SCD-9016-2; 56:53), a collection which melds classic soul inspirations with modern techniques and colors. The longtime Chick Corea drummer builds his arrangements around traditional core elements-like the thick, New Orleans styled groove of "Mud Sauce," and the pumping '70s funk atmosphere populating "Rhythm Dance." But the always inventive Weckl enhances these arrangements with unexpected touches. For example, his hard-edged slapping drumwork on "101 Shuffle" lends a high-stepping feel, and his off-timed, backbeat swat on "The Zone" creates a fusion-style bridge between sweet Steely Dan keyboards and chunky blues/funk guitar, for an exciting mix. The majority of the tunes jam with classic blue soul intensity-but Weckl also hits just the right emotional pitch on the mournful, atmospheric "Somebody's Watching" and the lightly intimate "Song for Claire," written to recall the late Richard Tee's gospel piano style.