Joslyn & The Sweet Compression
“I got to thinking, I could have it all,” Joslyn Hampton sings near the half-way point of her band’s newly released, self-titled debut album.
The proclamation comes as part of a burst-bubble romance called “Love on the Double,” a slice of lean but gradually incremental funk that has been part of Joslyn & the Sweet Compression’s live shows ever since the band quickly made itself known to Lexington audiences last year. But the feeling one gets after giving a spin of its fine new recording is that, Hampton and company could indeed have it all.
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Over a set of eight songs penned by guitarist Marty Charters and two tasty covers, Hampton revels in a soul and funk blend that is cross generational. Her voice possesses a clarity and command that sounds like it was born in the 1970s as commercial funk references from Johnny Guitar Watson to the Ohio Players grind out crisp grooves behind her. But there is also a strong element of classic soul at work as Hampton ignites a lusciously torchy reading of The Beatles’ “Long, Long, Long.” In fact, the tune’s solemn pace, along with its mingling of lead and background vocals, borders on gospel at times.
Similarly, many of the tunes are paced so that several of the Sweet Compression’s ace-in-the-hole players discreetly reveal their voices, as in the swirling keyboard colors of Steve Holloman that underscore the jubilation within the album closing “What Did You Think Was Gonna Happen?” and the fashionably late saxophone breaks of Joe Carucci as the neo-reggae groove of “If I Break It Down” heads into the home stretch.
Recorded and mixed by local music guru Duane Lundy, “Joslyn & the Sweet Compression” plays like an album extract of the band’s thoroughly involving live shows, like the one it is presenting Saturday night at The Burl to celebrate the record’s release. Then again, Lexington has spent the last year soaking in the Sweet Compression’s tirelessly spirited groove. Perhaps a copy of the completed album may now slip out of town and let the rest of world in on Lexington’s mightiest soul sound.
Jim James must have a thing about being at home for Thanksgiving. In 2006, he and the rest of the Louisville-rooted My Morning Jacket rocked the now-dormant Louisville Gardens with a potent blast of psychedelia, boogie and more with a concert centered around the release the previous year of what still stands as MMJ’s finest recorded work, “Z,” and its then-newly issued live album, “Okonokos.” Fast forward a full decade, and James was back in his hometown to play the day after Thanksgiving at the Louisville Palace. Instead of his MMJ pals, James introduced a new five member band that employed the Louisville trio Twin Limb as its foundation and the tunes from his two solo albums, “Eternally Even” and “Regions of Light and Sound of God” as repertoire material.
On Wednesday, James returns to Thanksgiving Eve to close out another MMJ-less tour at the Palace. While longtime friend and percussionist Dave Givan and the tour’s show-opener, Alynda Segarra of Hurray for the Riff Raff, help out on a few tunes, James goes it alone this time around with a solo acoustic set list that covers vintage MMJ fare (the “Evil Urges” favorite “I’m Amazed”), solo career fare (the “Eternally Even” pop delicacy “Same Old Lie”) and a smattering of cover tunes (Timmy Thomas’ “Rainbow Power”).
James has been a busy hombre outside of MMJ of late by releasing three solo recordings in roughly 10 months. In December 2017, he issued “Tribute to 2,” an 11-song covers collection of tunes initially popularized by Elvis Presley, Sonny and Cher, Bob Dylan and, somewhat improbably, Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Then in June came “Universal Distortion,” which swapped out the pop psychedelia of “Eternally Even” in favor of a power trio-style garage rock makeover. Finally, in October, James gave us “Universal Clarity,” a new representation of the “Universal Distortion” tunes with the corrosive electric veneer stripped away so that an elemental acoustic design — presumably, one his current tour is modeled after — was revealed.
In a press release, James described “Universal Clarity” as “a crystal clear illustration of the flawed beauty of what a song starts off as or sometimes remains — a thought, a seed, a light from the womb of the universe brought to life down here on earth.”
Organ at Origins Jazz
Jazz organ trios have had heroes — Jimmy Smith and Dr. Lonnie Smith, among them — but their numbers are few. Luckily, the Origins Jazz Series has snagged one for its November concert. Bobby Floyd, a Hammond B3 artist whose extensive credits include numerous tours and recordings with Ray Charles, will bring his trio to Tee Dee’s Bluegrass Progressive Club, 266 E. Second St. on Saturday for shows at 7 and 9:15 p.m. For tickets ($17.50 for each performance, $30 for both), go to originsjazz.org.