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Jul 30 / Aaron

Soulive, James Casey, and the Joys of Artistry-At-Large

As a good friend of mine likes to say, “You can’t find a bad Soulive show!”.  Fresh from a stop at Japan’s Fuji Rock Festival with Lettuce, Soulive’s funky older brother, James Casey will make his debut appearance at Equifunk as an official “artist-at-large.”

At Equifunk VI, brothers Alan (drums) and Neal Evans (Hammond organ and bass) along with Eric Krazno (guitar) will up the ante considerably by adding the legendary Maceo Parker to their potent blend of soul, jazz, and funk.  I have no doubt that this rare performance will officially bring Equifunk to a raging boil.  With a set that is sure to include both old staples as well as Maceo-flavored favorites, Soulive will continue to redefine and expand the very horizons of funk music.  Plain and simple, Soulive is to the modern-day and future funk scene as Earth, Wind, and Fire and Tower of Power were to first incarnation of funk-rock in the ’70s.  And in this particular case, Maceo Parker will provide some old-school flare to Soulive’s new-school funk right before your ears.

While Maceo and Soulive may well be the holy matrimony of funk, it is unfortunately unlikely to last… Soulive has performed with many celebrated brass players throughout their years together, from Karl Denson to Sam Kiningerto Rashawn Ross and Ryan Zoidis.  Various incarnations of the ‘Shady Horns’, as they are known, have brought down many a house, but it is perhaps one of the longest-serving members of Soulive’s horn-tourage that will make waves this year at Equifunk.

James Casey, who has recently performed with none other than the Trey Anastasio Band (TAB), offered the following juicy bits of how and when you’ll hear him at Camp Equifunk: “Here’s what I know so far: I know that I will join the New Mastersounds, and probably Soulive.  Plus, we’re putting together a super group I’ll be playing with [the one-time Equifunk Allstars, which includes Eddie Roberts, Nigel Hall, Stanton Moore, and Pete Shand].  I honestly have no idea how that’ll shape up, but I’m really looking forward to what those cats have in store.”  Casey, who hasn’t yet enjoyed the limelight of an artist-in-residency, is unsure what exactly will happen at Equifunk VI: “I know I’ll be playing quite a lot, and I couldn’t be more excited; I’m truly looking forward to it.”

When asked about some of his favorite collaborations of late, Casey mentioned that some of his most memorable on-stage moments have been with the Soul Rebels, a funky brass band straight from New Orleans, LA, whom he described as a “brass train of funk at full-speed-ahead.”  This last year, though, has been a real dream-come-true for this multi-instumentalist: “Ever since I got that phone call from Trey about a year ago, it’s just been a whirlwind.”

Be sure to catch James Casey throughout Equifunk this year for what are sure to be many memorable sets of funky dance music; I know I will.  (As I told Casey at the end of our chat, I’ll be the one raging in the front row.)  And definitely keep your eyes and ears open for his new band, James Casey and the Eclectic Collective, a group that he describes as “an amalgamation of soul, rock, and electronica.”  Looks like big things are in store for this funky saxophonist, and we couldn’t be more excited!

– Aaron Fumarola, life-long drummer and lover of all things rhythmic and funky!

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