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Soul, funk and jazz

Soul Collective
Soul Collective
By Bradley Leighton

Pacific Coast Jazz: 2008

This review first appeared in Turbula in December 2008.

For a guy who doesn't write much of his own material, San Diego flautist Bradley Leighton nevertheless should never run out of songs to give his patented once-over treatment. His fourth release follows the lead of his predecessors by turning in some stunningly tight soul-jazz covers of popular hits of different styles.

This go-round, Hall & Oates' "She's Gone" is turned into a percolating R&B dance number. Two tracks later, he and his band rework the 1967 country classic "Ode to Billy Joe" into a low-sizzle jazz-funk piece.

Leighton plays flute with an aggressive, muscular edge – it's a unique style, but one he's honed to perfection and one that works well with his style of uptempo jazz-tinged soul.

Producer/keyboardist Allan Phillips wrote five of the nine songs here, and his originals fit in nicely with the covers. Leighton and Phillips have crafted a fun, energetic style that sits somewhere between old-school R&B and contemporary smooth jazz – whatever name you want to give it, it's a fun listen.