Blue Soul Groove — Turn Back The Time

April 13, 2011

Scottish musicians Neil Warden (guitar) and John Burgess (sax & flute) step forward in the tradition of fellow Scots like The Average White Band to flaunt a funky, clearly soulful and jazz-filled sound as Blue Soul Groove on this, their debut release, Turn Back The Time.  This is a very satisfyingly solid project of hard hitting, powerful jazz/soul/funk cleverly arranged with lots of smart guitar and sax/flute stylings.

Guitarist/founder Warden is no stranger to the jazz music scene, having spent 25 years with blues/jazz singer Tam White. Deciding to round up some seriously competent help in Burgess (and others who contribute handsomely here but may or may not be permanent members), Warden appears to be offering up something quite promising.

While Warden’s guitar is very prominent here, there is an ongoing smooth party underway between him and Burges throughout the album.  I don’t feel that anyone seizes the “lead” as such here. Rather, they work together in such a magically cohesive and co-dependent manner that it just makes the whole production one of superior taste and quality (a real credit to founder Warden).  A case in point would be the high-stepping “Out On the Groove,” and I only select that track as a random example.  I could have chosen any number of them to make my point.  However, now that I think about it, this one is a bit different in that it has that “wired up” intense Down-to-the-Bone edge to it.
The band does a great job with a Joe Sample classis, also, as it tackles “Put It Where You Want It.”  Putting it in high gear with a great bass line, the band grabs the piece by the horns and guides it into a delightfully funky zone with ease and obvious enjoyment.

Warden has latched onto something here that has wings. This thing could take off in flight and go to places only the imagination can envision. With great melodies and a real feel in each piece beginning with the deeply soulful opener through each subsequent track, there’s a “can’t miss” air about this one for sure.   Contemporary jazz patrons and venues alike: Get behind this one. It’s well worth it. – Ronald Jackson