‘‘What is Soul?’’…Well this is a huge philosophical issue but in the musical aspect the answer that comes is rather straight forward. Soul can be found in the music and voices of great artists such as James Brown, Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Lee Fields, Charles Bradley and so many others that it would take countless pages only just to refer to their names. The list is really endless and is getting bigger day by day since newcomers constantly make their entry.
Such soul newcomers are the Durand Jones & The Indications with their debut album ‘Durand Jones & The Indications’ (released on 1st July 2016 by the Ohio based record label Colemine Records). The band consists of Durand Jones (vocals), Aaron Frazer (drums, vocals), Blake Rhein (guitars), Kyle Houpt (bass), and Justin Hubler (organ, electric piano). Durand Jones was born in New Orleans and raised in Hillaryville (Louisiana). He studied classical music, he was a traditional gospel singer in his hometown church choir and he also plays saxophone. The other members come from Bloomington, Indianapolis and they are all graduates of JSOM Recording Arts Department (Indiana University Jacobs School of Music). Next to them are Alexander Young on tenor sax and Christian Allmending on trumpet both of them members of the Indiana University Soul Revue Horn Section.
After this short bio presentation, grab the vinyl or cd and place it on your turntable or in your cd player and prepare yourselves for 8 full tracks of deep soul wrapped in a funky beat. Definitely, your ears will get the meaning of soul and your soul will get the meaning of hearing. ‘Make A Change’ is the first track and a funky one thanks to the drum beat. The organ makes the signal for your soul and the voice goes deeper into your senses. ‘Smile’ is the next track and this is a real soul gem. Nice, strong lyrics, expressive soul vocals and the horn section leaves no question about its importance. The next one is called ‘Can’t Keep My Cool’ and this is a love song full of emotions which is appropriate to sing to your sweetheart…try it! Now, we get to ‘Groovy Babe’, so feel free to get up to the dance floor. The guitar will give you the boost, the drums will hold you up (what a nice solo around 2:24 of the track) and the voice dances with you. ‘Giving Up’ comes next and this is a song about breaking-up. The organ here makes a stand with its beautiful sound and play (Tenor Sax by Alex Geddes). Real soul track! The following track ‘Is It Any Wonder’ is a melody so sweet like a sugarcane and mellow like a fruit falling from a tree (Aaron Frazer on vocals). ‘Now I’m Gone’ is the 7th track of the album and a real superb one. When I listened to the intro, I thought ‘’Wow is this a cover of Isaac Hayes and Bar-Kays?’’, but no this is a gem from Durand Jones & The Indications and a killer one, where everything comes together like emotions, lyrics, heavy soul vocals, guitar solo (what a sound), drum and bass perfectly matched, horns at the right proportion and the keyboards just as underground as it should be …a perfect funk soul track!!! Last track ‘Tuck ‘n’ Roll’ simply proves that these guys know how to funk’n’roll with a rockish attitude. Another great track where the organ riffs make the difference (Baritone Sax by Steven Banks).
Well, this is an album of soul and funk, an album where you discover that young musicians like Durand Jones & The Indications have respect for the heritage of soul/funk music and at the same time they create their own for the next generations. It’s a band full of energy that leaves no doubt that soul music is in good hands. They sound gritty, soul – funky, with passionate and raw vocals, driven by the energy of R&B. These guys are here to leave their musical stamp by playing soul music in the funky manner. Soul and funk is and should be their thing!!!