Soulive is a funk/jazz trio that originated in Woodstock, New York, and is known for its solos and catchy, upbeat songs. The band consists of Eric Krasno (guitar), Alan Evans (drums) and Neal Evans (Hammond B3 organ, bass keys, clavinet). Although they originated as a trio, the band has worked extensively with different horn sections, which have included Sam Kininger (saxophone)from 2000 to 2003, Rashawn Ross (trumpet), and Ryan Zoidis (saxophone) from 2003 to 2006. The band additionally worked with vocalist Toussaint Yeshua from 2006 to 2007. Soulive is currently touring in the original trio lineup of Eric Krasno, Alan Evans, and Neal Evans.
In the 90s, brothers Alan and Neal Evans had been the rhythm section for the Northeastern jam band Moon Boot Lover with front man Peter Prince. After a brief foray into rap with Edreys aka Billy Drease Williams under the name The Elements, the brothers looked to form a traditional jazz organ trio. On March 2, 1999, Alan and Neal invited guitarist Eric Krasno to record a few tracks with them in their home studio in Woodstock, New York. That jam session became their first EP, Get Down! and the band shortly thereafter hit the road to start touring. It was throughout that first summer together that the band recorded their first LP, Turn It Out, for Velour Recordings. Turn It Out featured various guest musicians, including John Scofield, Oteil Burbridge, and Sam Kininger. The independently produced album went on to sell 65,000 copies, enabling Soulive to gain recognition in the jazz/funk scene.
In the next three years, Soulive embarked on five national tours. The band opened for The Rolling Stones, Dave Matthews Band, The Roots, Common, John Mayer, and others. The band additionally continued to play at various festivals, including the Monterey Jazz Festival and Bonnaroo. Overseas, Soulive played shows in Japan and all over Europe.
In the fall of 2000, Soulive signed a record deal with Blue Note Records. The following spring, Soulive released its first Blue Note album, Doin' Something, which featured horn arrangements by Fred Wesley, the trombonist from James Brown's band. The band's second Blue Note record, Next, featured guest vocalists Dave Matthews and Amel Larrieux, and rappers Talib Kweli and Black Thought. During this time, the band additionally recorded with singer-songwriter Goapele Mohlabane.
In 2003, Soulive released a self-titled live album, Soulive (Live), and a collection of remixes, Turn It Out Remixed, which featured guests Jurassic 5, DJ Spinna, DJ Krush, J-Live, Wordsworth, and the Beatnuts.
On September 13, 2005, Soulive released its first album with Concord Records, Break Out. On this release the band eschewed extended jams for beat-driven instrumentals and collaborations with Chaka Khan (featured on "Back Again"), Ivan Neville (featured on "Got Soul" and "Take It Easy"), Corey Glover (featured on "Freedom"), Robert Randolph (featured on the Jimi Hendrix cover "Crosstown Traffic" and additionally on "Interlude II"), and Reggie Watts (featured on "She's Hooked" and "What Can You Do?"). Late in 2006 the group recorded No Place Like Soul with producer Stewart Lerman at his studio in Greenwich Village, The Shinebox.
In the summer of 2007, Boston based reggae/soul artist Toussaint was invited by the band to permanently fill the position of lead vocalist. Notwithstanding after the tour, the band decided to become a trio yet again. In a post to the Soulive messageboard, Alan Evans explained: "we just want to have fun. no more chasing the pop thing or whatever that is. We just want to go out and rage, no setlists, no huge venues, no tour buses. Just have fun. This isn't to say we didn't have fun with tours, we did but we realised that in looking at our past... We have had the most success and most fun when it was just the trio."
In 2008, Soulive performed at the Newport Jazz Festival.
On March 12, 2009, Soulive announced that they would be releasing a new album, "Up Here", on April 14, 2009. The album marked somewhat of a return to form for the group, as a large number of of the songs are solely instrumentals. For this album, they were joined once again by Ryan Zoidis on Tenor Sax, Sam Kininger on Alto Sax - who're now under the alias "The Shady Horns" - as well as appearances by Rashawn Ross on trumpet. Nigel Hall additionally guests on the track "Too Much".
Starting in 2010, Soulive has held an annual two-week, ten-night residency at the Brooklyn Bowl. The shows run from Tuesday to Saturday, each night involving a different opening act consisting of a myriad of both announced and unannounced guest musicians. Rarely has Soulive played as a trio throughout these shows—a horn section called "The Shady Horns," has almost always joined them on stage. The players have changed slightly over the years, but the section usually includes Ryan Zoidis on tenor and baritone saxophones and Sam Kininger on alto saxophone.
Some of the guest musicians have included:
- Bowlive I (2010) – Oteil Burbridge, ?uestlove, Marco Benevento, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Talib Kweli, The London Souls, Lettuce (band)
- Bowlive II (2011) – Robert Randolph, John Scofield, Karl Denson, Ivan Neville, Matisyahu, Bernie Worrell, Taylor Hicks, Kofi Burbridge, Lettuce (band), Corey Glover
- Bowlive III (2012) – John Scofield, Karl Denson, George Porter, Jr., Marco Benevento, Citizen Cope, Allen Stone, Derek Trucks, Lettuce (band), ?uestlove, Luther Dickinson
- Bowlive IV (2013) - Luther Dickinson, Robert Randolph, Lee Fields, Marco Benevento, David Hidalgo (Los Lobos), George Porter, Jr.
- Bowlive V (2014) - George Porter, Jr., Nicki Bluhm, John Scofield, Susan Tedeschi, Joe Russo, Darryl McDaniels (Run-D.M.C.), Talib Kweli,
|Get Down!||1999||Velour Recordings|
|Turn It Out||1999||Velour Recordings|
|Doin' Something||2001||Blue Note|
|Turn It Out Remixed||2003||Velour Recordings|
|Steady Groovin' (compilation)||2005||Blue Note|
|No Place Like Soul||2007||Stax Records|
|Up Here||2009||Royal Family Records|
|Live in San Francisco||2009||Royal Family Records|
|Live at the Blue Note Tokyo||2010||Royal Family Records|
|Rubber Soulive||2010||Royal Family Records|
|Spark||2012||Royal Family Records|
Instant live series
|Beachland Ballroom and Tavern||Cleveland, OH||28 September 2004|
|Blind Pig||Ann Arbor, MI||29 September 2004|
|Fine Line Café||Minneapolis, MN||2 October 2004|
|Iowa State University||Ames, IA||3 October 2004|
|Garanda||Lawrence, KS||4 October 2004|
|Aggie Theatre||Fort Collins, CO||6 October 2004|
|32 Bleu||Colorado Springs, CO||7 October 2004|
|Shaggy's Velvet Room||Salt Lake City, UT||10 October 2004|
|Conga Room||Los Angeles, CA||13 October 2004|
|Higher Ground||South Burlington, VT||9 December 2004|