Soundoctrine - Inspire (2010)
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A major event can prompt the kind of self-examination that leads a person to change his or her life. This can be the case even if the person wasn't directly involved in the event. The band Soundoctrine got its start in the aftermath of the events of Sept. 11, 2001. The enormity of that event meant that it pretty much affected everybody in the world in some way.
After the terrorist attacks, Soundoctrine drummer Jere B decided to leave his job as a local talk radio producer and pursue his passion of music. A few months later, Soundoctrine was performing throughout the band's home base of Northern Ohio and over the next few years the band released two albums, Endurance and Perseverance. Soundoctrine's third record, the recently released Inspire, further refines their fusion of jazz, funk, soul, hip-hop and gospel/inspirational.
On Inspire, Soundoctrine gives listeners an eclectic mix of instrumental jazz, socially aware soul, hard driving funk, love ballads and inspirational anthems. While most of the songs don't have an overtly religious message, the band has always been driven by a mission to entertain, uplift and inspire listeners through music. The vocal numbers are firmly rooted in biblical teachings. The ensemble title track, with its message that each individual can make a difference in the world and through their actions motivate others to do the same, is rooted Christ's sermon on the Mount.
"Brother's Keeper" gives a classic funk/soul vibe in answering the question Cain asked God in the book of Genesis. A head nodding bass line that is punctuated with some funky horn work drives the song. While these and other vocal tracks combine solid musicianship with an uplifting message, Inspire is at its best on those tracks when Soundoctrine can display their brand of fusion.
The band displays a nice interplay among the musicians on the soul/jazz tune "Marriage." "Originalalternativefunkjazzfusion!" is a mouthful as a title, but the song manages to live up to its name as the bass provides grounding for creativity and improvising.
Soundoctrine is part of a trend in gospel/inspirational music in which artists expand the boundaries of what it means to make Christian-based songs. They've been at it for nearly a decade, and have developed into leaders in this movement. Soundoctrine may not yet be as well known as other artists, but their unique brand of inspirational jazz,funk and fusion displayed on Inspire certainly shows that they should be. It is another critical success for a band that just seems to get better and better. Recommended
By Howard Dukes