MUSIC SOUP — Cut to the Chase (review)

MUSIC SOUP — Cut to the Chase album cover Album · 2016 · Hard Bop Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
You don’t hear a lot about jazz music from Greece, which is a shame, as they apparently have a very happening scene there. Music Soup may help heighten awareness of Greek expertise in the jazz world with their new CD, “Cut to the Chase”, which features a self-proclaimed ‘eclectic’ approach that covers hard bop, RnB, fusion and more. Music Soup is essentially B3 organist Evgenia Karlafti and guitarist Nestor Dimopoulos, with Vagelis Kotzabasis taking the drum chair for most of this outing. A couple tracks on “Cut to the Chase” also feature a small horn section. Both Evgenia and Nestor are virtuoso performers. Evgenia sometimes has the expected bluesy soul jazz sound often associated with the B3, but she often takes on the more abstract post bop sounds of Larry Young, and even some European jazz-rock along the lines of Dave Stewart. Nestor reveals that he is a fan of Wes Montgomery, Pat Methanay and others, but often his mix of abstract harmonies and rhythmic blues may have you thinking John Schofield.

“Cut to the Chase” opens strong with the title cut that mixes driving post bop with Greek influenced odd-metered fusion. This is an excellent direction for the band to pursue, and they return to a similar sound on “Senior Citizen” and “A New Start”. Other instrumental cuts include the bluesy groove of “Movin” and the Bossa-Nova flavor of “Skywalk”. The remaining four tracks feature Evgenia’s vocals on songs that range from ballads to dance oriented RnB. Evgenia is a great singer, and the vocal numbers probably add a lot of interest and variety during live shows, but for the home listening experience, I think a lot of B3 fans would rather hear more numbers like the opener. Overall “Cut to the Chase” makes for a great introduction for Music Soup, and the flow of the tracks is very much like a live show.
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