Steve Butler feat. Ron Haynes

Steve Butler feat. Ron Haynes

At first it may seem like an odd combination.  Mix a young hip-hop guitarist/producer and an acclaimed jazz trumpeter and what do you get?   Well, when they combine their formidable talents and their love of funky 70s Chicago grooves, you get one of the most enjoyable albums of 2005.

Steve Butler is a hot hip-hop producer who has made a name for himself working with artists such as Twista and Skee-Lo.  Ron Haynes is jazz royalty in Chicago, a noted trumpeter who began working as a teenager backing blues artists ranging from Otis Clay to Tyrone Davis before studying under jazz legend Donald Byrd.  More recently Haynes led the horn section on comedian Bernie Mac's HBO show and was a member of the Grammy nominated jazz band Liquid Soul.

Butler recruited Haynes to work on a dream project that would try to capture the spirit of classic Chicago soul, from Curtis Mayfield to Earth Wind & Fire. The result of their collaboration is Something for the People, a tasty album that succeeds wonderfully in melding a 70s R&B groove and resurgent steppers' sound with the city's jazz tradition.  Beginning with the opening cut, "Windy City," the disc is bright, bold and extremely engaging.  Butler maintains a steady, funky groove throughout and lets Haynes and the fantastic horn section (consisting of Haynes, Steve Graeber, Johnny Showtime, Skinny Williams, Johnny Cotton and Milton Ware) run free.  It helps that Butler and Haynes have written eight strong tunes, but it is the band's performance that is transcendent, especially on the upbeat instrumentals such as the title cut, "Windy City" and the infectious "Shakedown" (the latter two of which are also included on the disc as extended mixes).

Something for the People is the sound of Chicago in the Summer and makes for a great cruising-with-the-windows-down listen, a terrific mix of old school jazz and funk that will be tough to turn off or even turn down.  Highly recommended.

By Chris Rizik

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