Soul Cycle - Urban Organics (2008)

Soul Cycle
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Upon hearing the first song from Soul Cycle's CD entitled Urban Organics, I knew this was a group that needed to be what they call "dealt with" on another level. Once again I have stumbled upon a project that gives me "The Funk Face," making my mug contort into something nasty.  Soul Cycle arrives straight out of Brooklyn as one of the most distinctive soul combos to hit the independent music scene.

Upon hearing the first song from Soul Cycle's CD entitled Urban Organics, I knew this was a group that needed to be what they call "dealt with" on another level. Once again I have stumbled upon a project that gives me "The Funk Face," making my mug contort into something nasty.  Soul Cycle arrives straight out of Brooklyn as one of the most distinctive soul combos to hit the independent music scene.

"Stop Playin'" jump starts this 11-track project with a style reminiscent of Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul from the Bitches Brew sessions. They then take you into another dimension with keyboardist and band leader Jesse Fischer's superb skills on "Empty Pockets," and you will be bobbing your head to the beat of Corey Rawls' drum. And that's only the second cut!

The brothers rip a page from the James Brown play book on "Fresh" with saxophonist Brian Hogans sounding as if he were a student of the great Maceo Parker. Vocalist Ramona Dunlap lends her sensational talents to a reggae-tinged rendition of "Footsteps In the Dark," as the band takes a classic Isley Brothers song and make it their own. Other highlights from this wonderful CD include "Forgetful Tendencies," "After a Long Sleep," and "2:56 AM," with some of the most opulent arrangements this side of classical music.

Only a month into 2008, Urban Organics may be the year's first must-have project. Every song is excellent and the production is astonishing.  Running slightly over an hour, Urban Organics explores moods from meditative to exhilarating, from poignant to boisterous, from sensual to lighthearted. What ties the project together is the sincerity of the musicians and their group chemistry and you hear it in the music. Highly recommended.

By Christopher Whaley

 
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