3 Brave Souls | John Beasley / Daryl Jones / Ndugu Chancler

3 Brave Sould - John Beasley

3 Brave Souls
John Beasley / Daryl Jones / Ndugu Chancler
(BFM Jazz)
by Peggy Oliver

Occasionally, I ponder about what truly inspires bands or vocal groups in choosing their names and what their thought process was behind it. For instance, the name 3 Brave Souls sparked immense curiosity. After checking their musical background, I particularly noted that John Beasley, Daryl Jones and Leon ‘Ngudu’ Chancler had one major common bond. These veteran musicians represented three generations who played behind modern jazz trumpet pioneer Miles Davis. Considering those 3 Brave Souls’ close association with Davis was partially enough for me to figure out that Beasley, Jones and Chancler must have been somewhat brave in interacting with his moody, intense personality..

Besides their Miles Davis credentials, 3 Brave Souls have contributed to the music industry in other capacities. Keyboardist John Beasley serves as musical director for the current reality talent series, “Duets.” Jones, who handles bass guitar duties for The Rolling Stones tours, has also worked with pop phenomenons Sting, Madonna and Lionel Ritchie. Chancler is one of the most respected drummer/percussionists around but one of his major calling cards is his pulsating funk beats driving Michael Jackson’s international hit, “Billie Jean.”

3 Brave Souls bridges their diverse talents for their self-titled debut to concoct an ambitious and mostly entertaining recipe of pop, world, R&B and soul injected with funk blasts and contemporary jazz class. “Black Friday” sweetly layers deep funk pockets with R&B and pop. Chancler and Beasley’s vibraphone and keyboard tandem run the table on “Nail It Down.” From the department of genius vocal casting, independent soul songstress Sy Smith is the perfect choice who compliments 3 Brave Souls’ eclectic personality. Her sassy lead and Beasley’s meaty organ solo propel “Wanna Get Away,” a Meters-esque romp that proudly stamps the lively spirit of New Orleans. The sleek eighties R&B-like “Love’s Graces” taps Sy Smith’s efficiency with slow jams, accented by Beasley’s spacey synthesizers. While Jones is very capable holding down the rhythm section, “Come and Gone” demonstrates his melodic bass lines with simplicity and fluidity. On the other hand, one of the few misfires on 3 Brave Souls is Jones’ lead vocal turn on “Stay.” “Ayala” ventures into jazz experimentation centered on different distinct textures of woodwinds: the EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument) played by Steve Tavaglione and Bob Sheppard’s baritone sax. “Yabis” is a certified African funk party complete with animated trombone by Francisco Torres, and a fierce percussion line of Leon Mobley on djembe (a hand drum originating from West Africa) and Chancler’s congas. “N2U” closes down 3 Brave Souls with Gregorie Maret’s harmonica and Beasley’s glistening keys locking in a relaxing jazz/soul vibe.

After experiencing this riveting debut, there absolutely is something about that name 3 Brave Souls that says slightly daring and dare I say – a brave and welcome move for the modern jazz market. I bet Miles Davis would be smiling on them as well.

Four and a half out of five stars.

Peggy Oliver
The Urban Music Scene

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