Album Review: Alan Evans Trio, ‘Merkaba’

bill bodkin looks at a cosmically good record…

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If you’ve been a fan of drummer Alan Evans, you might be wondering how, his band The Alan Evans Trio, a funk, jazz and soul organ trio is any different from the band that put him on the map — Soulive.

If this question has had you scratching your head or putting that classic eyebrow raised quizzical look on your face, then you need to listen the album Merkaba.

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To be released on March 19, Merkaba, is an absolutely dynamite instrumental album that puts the stamp on what differs The Alan Evans Trio from Soulive and most importantly — it proves that AE3 is a band that should be recognized as a simply amazing band.

Merkaba’s artwork and tracks named “Thor,” “Cosmic Hazel Dust” and “Astro Biscuits” would suggest this is some sort of psychedelic, cosmic jam session that would be perfect for a psych rock festival or outdoor hippie drum circle. And to an extent, the tracks on Merkaba would work in both these settings, but in reality, these tracks don’t trip through the cosmos in endless meanderings of improvised anarchy.

Instead, what the Alan Evans Trio delivers is an airtight blend of blistering guitar work, heavenly organ work and drums that are played with machine gun-like precision. The sound is akin to the ’60s sounds of Santana and Hendrix, where all the instruments come together with crazy, frenetic energy yet still have a sense of melody and groove. And yes, for those wondering, Alan Evans hasn’t left his soul roots behind. The employment of the organ in this band make sure there’s enough soul in the AE3 sound that would make James Brown smile.

Groove is the best way to describe Merkaba. It’s got a constant, head bopping and many times pulse pounding groove to it. It’s the type of music that you roll down your window for, throw on your coolest pair of shades and cruise the hippest parts of the city. It’s just such a damn good and supercool record that you almost feel personally cooler than you are just by listening to it. And this feeling permeates every single track on this energizing and smooth groove-filled instrumental music.

The Alan Evans Trio’s new record Merkaba is perfect for lovers of funk, soul, jazz and guitar-driven rock ‘n’ roll. It may sound cliche, but this is the first must-own record of 2013.

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

4 COMMENTS

  1. Every time I listen to this I end up boppin my head, tappin my feet, shufflin my shoulders. And, hey, Al sings… soft jazzy soul singing! Killer boys!

  2. Spectacular! You won’t be able to listen to this without movin’… jukin your head, tapping your feet. And, hey, Al Evans sings! He pipes some sweet jazzy soul. Who’da’thunk! 😉

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