Have Soul Will Travel


February 29, 2004

Damn, it was funky. As the challenge between drummer Kevin O’Day and saxophonist Brent Rose escalated into room-saturating amplification, I started unconsciously shouting James Brown-like affirmations. I wasn’t the only one.

In the middle or at the end of songs, it was common to hear hoops and hollers from d.b.a. as Have Soul Will Travel played Sunday night. Rounding out the lineup was bassist Cass Faulconer, guitarist/bandleader Bert Cotton and trumpeter Eric Lucero.

Except for a slower, more subtle number, high energy funk songs with moderate tempos and a jazz structure dominated the set. The songs(each 6-10 minutes long) began with a progression by the rhythm section or Cotton, followed or topped by a note-for-note chorus by Rose and Lucero. Next up was a guitar or horn solo, after which the song ended with the chorus.

The band was in good spirits and having fun. Lucero manned a cowbell, Rose shook a tambourine, and the band’s mid-song shouts made them more attractive and lightened up the room. During one song, Rose and Lucero battled back and forth until they were playing so fast it was obvious they were just showing off. Rose and Lucero’s musings were so catchy that they sometimes sounded like a movie’s main theme.

Rose is a bad-ass, and twice I lost my breath in amazement and joy as he blew and blew and just kept going. Faulconer was in the pocket and also had a nice Superfly ‘70’s sound going at one point. O’Day is the best drummer in New Orleans, and he proved it last night with rock-solid time and unreal snare rolls. O’Day sounds better with just a snare, kick drum, high-hat, and ride cymbal than he does with his normal larger set. Cotton played enjoyable, reserved and soft jazz lines.

The band operated without a setlist, and it only took one person to start playing a song for everyone to jump right in. About twenty people watched the set, including Eric Lindell. The nasty funk is out there. You just have to know where to get it.

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