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Native Soul: Soul Step

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Groove is essential to this collective of saxophonist Peter Brainin, keyboardist Noah Haidu, bassist Marcus McLaurine and drummer Steve Johns. From Haidu’s infectious title track, with its distinctive Fender Rhodes, soaring soprano lines and insistent backbeat, to a modernist postbop interpretation of “End of a Love Affair” and the funky and strikingly original cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Castles Made of Sand,” Native Soul shifts gears dramatically yet nimbly. Johns’ sanctified “Deep Blue” has Brainin testifying on tenor and McLaurine turning in a bent-string electric bass solo, while McLaurine’s “Inner Search” is vintage fusion evoking the early, samba-fied edition of Return to Forever. Haidu’s uptempo burner “Slipstream” mines some serious bop territory, and McLaurine’s “One for OP” is a moment of calm before the torrid straightahead closer, “Gift Within.”

Originally Published