The Soul Survivors, a quintet of R&B/ jazz/studio veterans, features a repertoire of '60s and '70s pop/R&B tunes, jazz standards and soulful originals filled with a unique, greasy, sticky sound -- not surprising considering who its members are. Guitarist Cornell Dupree, bassist Chuck Rainey and drummer Bernard "Pretty" Purdie all played with King Curtis in the '60s and Aretha Franklin in the '70s, and together they have appeared on more than 1,000 albums. Dupree has a simple R&B style and earthy tone, while Rainey builds a strong pulse by locking in on simple grooves. The self-proclaimed uncredited drummer on a number of Beatles tunes, Purdie works a simple, sharp, funky style.
Equally well traveled, saxophonist Ernie Watts was a member of Doc Severinsen's Tonight Show Band for over two decades and did his share of studio work. His solo career has been split between challenging postbop material, '40s film noir music and unimaginative smooth jazz. Jack McDuff is a gutbucket jazz organist, a filthy-sounding bluesy player who can be one of the nastiest organists on the scene but also a real swinger.
When playing together as the Soul Survivors, the band sometimes mines '70s-era soul-jazz. And within that retro style, the Survivors can stun an audience one moment with hot licks and sweep them off their feet with a magical arrangement the next. -- Paul J. MacArthur
Soul Survivors plays Tuesday, February 16, at 6 and 9 p.m., at Sambuca Jazz Cafe, 909 Texas Ave., (713)224-5299.
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