So live

Friday, I caught Soulive at Southpaw, who about 3 hours of funky soul jazz.
The two-person horn section, Rashawn Ross on trumpet and Ryan Zoidis on saxophone (tenor and alto) adds some edge to Soulive’s sound and takes the band to a new level. This horn section fits in with the Soulive sound better than the band’s earlier work with alto sax player Sam Kininger (as on Next). The depth of the tenor sax and the edge of a high trumpet line fit the funky organ and clavinet grooves. The two-man horn section’s tight lines kicked up the intensity in songs like “Aladdin” and “Uncle Junior.” Both Zoidis and Ross contributed some bad-ass solos, as did guitarist Eric Krasno and keyboard master Neil Evans (who does double duty playing the bass lines on a keyboard.)
Other guests at the Southpaw included an MC to rap on, um, one song during the second set and two more horn players (on trombone and alto sax) for the closing song of the night, “Do It Again.” The expanded horn section demonstrated just how well the more compact section is more effective.
Other live Soulive recordings are available for download at (free) or from DiscLogic (paid).