A funky instrumental trio, Soulive are all about danceable, organ-driven groove jazz. Their sound is a result of fusing the soul-jazz of the past with a modern hip-hop feel. Brothers Alan and Neal Evans, on drums and Hammond B-3 organ, respectively, form two-thirds of the trio. Rounding out the group is Eric Krasno on guitar. Krasno's spidery yet very direct guitar lines recall Grant Green, while the group's rhythmic concepts date back to those learned from artists such as James Brown, Stevie Wonder, and Sly Stone.
The band was formed in Buffalo, New York, in the late '90s when all three members were under age 25. However, each already had a substantial background in the jam band scene. Alan and Neal are former members of Moon Boot Lover, and Alan also played with the Greyboy Allstars. Krasno founded the super-funky Lettuce, a wildly popular Boston-based band. Soulive toured with and opened for a number of notables (including John Scofield, Maceo Parker, Los Lobos, Derek Trucks, and Robben Ford) before headlining their own shows and releasing their introductory EP, Get Down, in 1999.
The band's full-length debut, Turn It Out (featuring Scofield), was released on the Velour label in 2000. That release generated such a buzz that they were promptly picked up by Blue Note, which released Doin' Something in early 2001. A year later, Next was released, followed by Soulive in 2003. Breakout appeared from Concord in 2005, while a series of individual concerts were made available on Instant Live Records in 2004 and 2006, followed by No Place Like Soul on Stax in 2007.
In 2009, the band marked its tenth anniversary with the release of the studio effort Up Here. A year later, they delivered a Beatles covers album, Rubber Soulive. In 2012, Soulive paid tribute to soul-jazz guitarist Melvin Sparks with the album Spark! They stayed busy touring over the next several years, and delivered two concert albums recorded at Florida's Wanee Festival. In 2018, they returned with Cinematics, Vol. 1, an EP of original songs inspired by their love of film music. ~ Ann Wickstrom