Soul Heroes Matador! Hit The Right Note With Debut Release 'Get Ready' March 15, 2018 14:49

Words by Taylor Pack: Live & Listen

Sometimes players just need to play, and that happens to be just the case when it comes to Eddie Roberts’ and Alan Evans’ newest project: Matador! Soul Sounds. The collection of extremely talented musicians is a result of Eddie and Alan spending time together playing on several different occasions. The two artists clearly had on-stage chemistry and both felt they wanted to play together more than what current circumstances allowed. 

Talking over a few glasses of wine in D.C one night, Eddie asked Alan if he’d be willing to start a band together. Alan agreed and the two quickly got busy choosing a roster. Chris Spies was the first name mentioned, because the keys player’s New Orleans steeped organ skills aligned perfectly with the brand of funk-drenched soul music Alan and Eddie were looking to create. Spies connection with Atlanta-based producer and bass player Kevin Scott led Eddie to suggest Scott for bass duties. Alan, who had crossed paths with Scott in the past, was overjoyed at the suggestion of working with Scott. Brought up through the school of Col. Bruce Hampton, Scott is not only cashing in on opportunities to play with Jimmy Herring and John McLaughlin and touring with ground-up label artist Forq, he also hosts Atlanta’s longest running weekly jam session. Finally, it would be senseless to try and bring audiences the very best in modern soul music without enlisting the passion and power of female singers. A tag team effort from Adryon De Leon (Orgone) and Kim Dawson (Pimps of Joytime) round out the band with confidence and grace.

Their debut album Get Ready showcases a mighty team effort in the spirit of the group’s namesake, the highly improvisational Grant Green album Matador. Just as Green enlisted the help of his scene’s most talented musicians, Matador! Soul Sounds uses a pool of individual talent to collectively push their own musical agenda: moving people’s soul and feet. The foundation for this starts with Evans and Scott’s rhythmic playing. Their ability to lock into a groove together is showcased on tracks like “Stingy Love” and “Too Late” and persists throughout the album. Tracks like “State of Affairs” and “Soulmaro” display Eddie Roberts' guitar sensibilities as he layers muscular jazz riffs with great deftness and intent alongside Spies slick organ playing.

The central theme of working together never shines brighter than the track “Covfefe”. Just as a matador would enlist the help of a cuadrilla (look it up!) in traditional bullfighting, the entire band comes together on this one to take on the figurative raging bull. It’s tracks like this one that display how well the band is able to braid together the many different aspects of the members that make up the group. Even the powerful vocal parts of De Leon and Dawson never seem to venture too far out in front or behind the rest of the band, always playing alongside them intertwined in the mix.

The final track on Get Ready is “Computer Love”, a patient and contemplative tune that seems to amble along with Eddie riffing over Spies’ humming organ. The band slowly builds energy until their arrival at peak intimacy; letting the newfound synergy run its course before dissipating away and concluding the album. The whole album clocks in at just over an hour and includes 2 bonus tracks as well.

The band hits the road soon. Their nationwide tour starts March 15 at the Rex Theater in Pittsburg, PA. To find out more about the band and their tour, visit the band's official website.

Stream 'Get Ready' in its entirety here: