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Soren Reiff — Gratitude

July 26, 2015

O.k., so this is my introduction to guitarist Soren Reiff, an artist who’s been on the jazz scene, from what I can see, since 2010. With a solid, Soren Reifffluid style and plenty of soul, it’s hard to imagine that I would not have run across one of his projects until now. He certainly is one worth recognition without a doubt. His latest release Gratitude comes packed with just what we C-jazz aficionados love to hear: Grooves truly worthy of being called grooves.

Slick and clean riffs, tight rhythm bites, and much more than ordinary ideas, this artist comes prepared to continue laying down whatever mark he’s already started. By his showing here, he’s on the right track. His early work, two albums apparently released in the same year (2010), Miss You and Funky Flava, showed clear signs of his grasp of the funk and soul angle, mixing sexy rhythms in with hot and phat funky grooves. Here with help from such luminaries as renowned bassist Jimmy Haslip, the guitarist struts along his chosen path adding more fuel to the fire he’s started.

If I’m choosing faves here, I’d have to go with the funky and slick mid-tempo blues-tinged “Let’s Play,” the totally blues-laden “Blues for J,” the cool and sassy “You Turn Me On,” the soul/blues-laced “Longing Home,” and the bluesy and soulful “Have to Move On” (did I mention that Reiff seems to dig the blues a lot? At least, on this project, I hear a heavy influence. Well, he’s certainly snagged a fan here for sure).

I truly dig this guitarist’s style, depth, and axe-handling skills. I can only imagine him in a live setting. He has to light a blaze each time with his licks and intensity. Wonderful work. Easily a two thumbs up for me and, I’m sure, other jazz/blues lovers. – Ronald Jackson