At long last, Liquid Soul is back with the follow-up to its 2000 Grammy-nominated CD, Here's the Deal (Shanachie). Evolution, the band's fourth recording, gives evidence that the dynamic unit has continued to develop its infectious trademark sound and take it to new heights. Liquid Soul called on the help of Grammy-nominated producer Maurice Joshua (N'Sync and Destiny's Child) and Frayne P. Lewis, the son of Ramsey Lews, this time around. The result is a fresh mix of butt-kicking jams, driving jazz-inspired tracks and hot dance numbers. Fans of Liquid Soul will be thrilled by the album's extra live tracks which capture the sheer magnetic energy of the band. Highlights include "Action Jackson," the rambunctious opener with the killer horn intro and thumping bass; "Sun Ra," the smooth and ethereal tribute to the celestial king; "Nina's in Jail," the funky spoken-word track reminiscent of Deborah Harry's "Rapture"; and the overpowering and live dance track "Rage Experiment."

At the heart of Liquid Soul's sound, as always, is the fierce musicianship of the band itself. There's the renowned Liquid Soul horn section consisting of:

Mars Williams - Sax
Tommy Klein - Guitar
Josh Ramos - Bass (Phil Ajjarapu was bass on CD)
Tony "Kickdrum" Taylor - Drums
Doug Corcoran - Trumpet & Keyboards
Mr.Greenweedz - MC (Vocals)
David "Boy Elroy" Arredondo - Beatbox & Turntables

LIQUID SOUL HISTORY

Having exploded from a small underground street-jazz sound in Chicago, The Liquid Soul universe has been expanding at a dizzying pace. The Chicago ensemble's trademark mixture of jazz and urban dance music has virtually outgrown the term "acid jazz," incorporating everything from hard-bop to hip-hop in their celebrated sound. Down Beat magazine says Liquid Soul "sweeps the mold and mildew out of jazz-funk and breathes it back to glorious life." With a marathon touring schedule that has included everything from performing at the Presidential Inaugural Parade to headlining the first acid-jazz performance at the Newport Jazz Festival, Liquid Soul has evolved into an intuitively tight outfit that knows no stylistic limitations. The amalgamation of genres created by the 8-piece collective is a blend of pure musicianship, a fiercely passionate fire and the inherent fun of a pure dance groove. The result is a unique live music experience that draws a diverse legion of fans, spanning across multiple age and ethnic groups.

At long last, Liquid Soul is back with the follow-up to its 2000 Grammy-nominated CD, Here's the Deal (Shanachie). Evolution, the band's fourth recording, gives evidence that the dynamic unit has continued to develop its infectious trademark sound and take it to new heights. Liquid Soul called on the help of Grammy-nominated producer Maurice Joshua (N'Sync and Destiny's Child) and Frayne P. Lewis, the son of Ramsey Lews, this time around. The result is a fresh mix of butt-kicking jams, driving jazz-inspired tracks and hot dance numbers. Fans of Liquid Soul will be thrilled by the album's extra live tracks which capture the sheer magnetic energy of the band. Highlights include "Action Jackson," the rambunctious opener with the killer horn intro and thumping bass; "Sun Ra," the smooth and ethereal tribute to the celestial king; "Nina's in Jail," the funky spoken-word track reminiscent of Deborah Harry's "Rapture"; and the overpowering and live dance track "Rage Experiment."

The story of Liquid Soul goes back to 1994, when the band was at the forefront of a surging acid-jazz movement in the greater Midwest. Evolving from free-form hip-hop jams, the band coalesced spontaneously and soon found a home every Sunday night at Chicago's Elbo Room. Word spread fast, attracting like-minded individuals to the small stage from far and wide. Thanks to these auspicious midnight marathons, Liquid Soul soon solidified into a steady working unit.

The group quickly morphed well beyond their improv-oriented acid jazz beginnings, and their do-it-yourself debut ("Liquid Soul") was quickly picked up and distributed by Ark 21 Records. The band was thrust further into the limelight after a much publicized gig at Dennis Rodman's birthday party. They relocated their perennial Sunday night show to the Double Door in Wicker Park and held it for almost four years (Feb. 1996 to Dec. 1999), rarely missing a Sunday even while playing nearly 200 gigs a year throughout the United States and Canada, plus performances in Germany, Turkey and Japan. Along the way, the band has gone on to both critical and national acclaim. They have opened for Sting, played at the Inaugural Parade and 21st Century Ball, and twice rocked the South By Southwest Music Festival, heralded by the Austin American-Statesman as "the single hottest showcase of the festival." And they recorded two more critically acclaimed CDs, "Make Some Noise" (Ark 21, 1998) and the Grammy-nominated "Here's the Deal" (Shanachie, 2000).

Live or in the studio, playing it hard or smooth, Liquid Soul is a fiery concoction of classy soloists, heavy rhythm merchants and hip-hop cognoscenti. They are in a group that thrives on contact with their audience. One cannot help being moved by Liquid Soul's ongoing party philosophy. The band's in-the-tradition repertoire extends from classic compositions by Ornette Coleman and Miles Davis to excursions on the latest breakbeats and mad samples. They continue to bridge the musical gap between standard jazz improvisation and urban rhythm. And as always, the band stays true to its roots with a continued philosophy of bringing jazz back to the dance floor.

Highlights

Sting opening shows (Central Park, New York City; Blockbuster Pavilion, Charlotte, NC; Alltel Pavilion, Raleigh, NC), Sept. 2000

Chicago Jazz Festival, Sept. 2000

Jazz Wind 2000 Festival in Furano, Japan, Aug. 2000

Newport Jazz Festival in Madarao, Japan, Aug. 2000

Sioux Falls (SD) Jazz & Blues Festival, July 2000

Cancun Jazz Festival, Mexico (May 2000)

River Stages Festival, Nashville (May 2000)

Music Midtown Festival, Atlanta, Ga. (May 2000)

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (May 2000)

Babylon Club, Istanbul, Turkey (January 2000)

Jacksonville Jazz Festival, Jacksonville, Fla. (November 1999)

Aspen Jazz Festival, Snowmass Village, Colo. (September 1999)

Sweet Pea Festival, Bozeman, Mont. (August 1999)

Kansas City Blues & Jazz Festival, Kansas City, Mo. (July 1999)

Lodo Music Festival, Denver, Colo. (July 1999)

Black & White Ball, San Francisco (June 1999)

Indianapolis Jazz Festival (June 1999)

Canadian jazz festival tour: Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary (June-July 1999)

Moers Festival, Moers, Germany (May 1999 and May 1997)

Festival International de Jazz de Montreal (July 1998)

Montreux-Detroit Jazz Festival, Detroit (September 1998)

President Clinton's Inaugural Parade and 21st Century Ball, Washington, D.C. (January 1997)

The Theater at Madison Square Garden, New York City (opened for two Sting concerts, March 1997)

A Taste of Chicago, Petrillo Music Shell, Grant Park, Chicago (July 4, 1997)

JVC Jazz Festival, Newport, R.I. (August 1997)

Dennis Rodman's birthday party, Crobar, Chicago (May 1996)

Nationwide club and festival touring (fall 1996 to present) with well over 100 performances per year.

RESIDENCIES

Sunday nights at the Double Door, Chicago (February 1996 to December 1999)

Sunday nights at the Elbo Room, Chicago (1994 to 1996)

 
 

Mars Williams - Saxophones

Mars Williams has studied with Anthony Braxton and Roscoe Mitchell, and has worked as an arranger and orchestrator. An open-minded musician who commutes easily between free jazz and rock, Mars has played and recorded with The Psychedelic Furs, Massacre (the Fred Frith/Bill Laswell group), Ministry, Billy Idol, Power Station, Die Warzau, The Waitresses, Pete Cosey, Billy Squier and virtually every leading figure of New York City's "downtown" scene. John Zorn credits Mars as "one of the true saxophone players--someone who takes pleasure in the sheer act of blowing the horn. This tremendous enthusiasm is an essential part of his sound, and it comes through each note every time he plays. Whatever the situation, Mars plays exciting music. In many ways he has succeeded in redefining what versatility means to the modern saxophone player." Despite his busy touring schedule with Liquid Soul, Mars manages to stay active on the Chicago underground improvising scene. In recent years he has toured and recorded with the Peter Brotzman Tentet, the Vandermark 5 and Cinghiale, teaming him with such musicians as Ken Vandermark, Hamid Drake and William Parker. And as a bandleader, he has continued to perform and record CDs with his own free-jazz groups such as the NRG Ensemble, Witches & Devils, Slam and, currently, X Mars X.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

When will Liquid Soul be releasing a new CD?

Our long-awaited fourth CD, Evolution, was released in early October 2002.


When will the band be touring in my area?

Please check the Tour Schedule. If nothing is listed, then nothing is booked.

How can we get Liquid Soul to play at a club or festival in our area?

If you're a club booking agent or promoter, simply contact our booking agent (see the Contacts page). If you're a fan, contact your local club managers. Tell them that Liquid Soul is the bomb and that you will bring a million of your friends to the club if they book us there.

Do you guys allow people to tape your live shows?

Sure, but we'd rather you didn't tape us directly from the mixing board.

I play in a band that plays a similar style of music to Liquid Soul. How can we get a gig opening up for you guys?

A lot of musicians ask us this question, but usually opening slots are out of our hands. Please understand that, in booking up to 200 gigs a year, we have plenty of advance work to do as it is. Your best bet is to contact a club where we're scheduled to play and convince the manager that you jam and you can help draw a crowd. Good luck!

What's Liquid Soul's Street Team all about?

The Street Team is a simple way to promote our shows. We send our Street Teamers posters to put up around town, and we reward them for their help by putting them on the guest list.

How do I join the Street Team?

Just drop us an e-mail with the following info: 1) City or cities you can help out in. 2) Your e-mail address. Put "Street Team" in the subject field. We'll contact you next time we're heading to your area.

I noticed that you guys don't play at the Double Door every week anymore. Do you plan on getting another weekly Sunday-night gig?

Nope. After four years of Sunday nights at the Double Door, plus two previous years at the Elbo Room, we kind of enjoy having Sunday nights off. Plus, this frees us up to take longer tours and visit markets we haven't been to before. We still play at the Double Door now and then, typically on Sundays during three-day holiday weekends (Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc.).

What happened to Dirty MF? Who's your current emcee?

Dirty left the band in 1999 to pursue a solo career. He can still be heard on our first three discs, including "Here's the Deal." MCB has been our main touring emcee for the past few years, while Mr. Greenweedz has been doing most of the shows lately.

What's your former drummer, Dan Leali, up to these days?

Dan left Liquid Soul in September 2000. Since then he's been playing in the Chicago production of Blue Man Group, with Fareed Haque and in a variety of bands in Chicago.

I play in a band that wants to perform some of your songs. Do you have any sheet music available?

Nope, sorry! You're welcome to learn them by ear though.

In "Stop By Monie's," what is Simone saying about "saliva running down your chin"?

"I'm talkin' 'bout a super freaky semi-futuristic saliva running down your chin kind of taste." For complete lyrics to "Stop By Monie's" and "Dysfunction," click here.

Are you guys an acid-jazz band, a funk band, or what?

Everyone knows that the acid-jazz tag is getting dated, and it doesn't begin to describe the numerous facets of Liquid Soul's music. We're harder-edged than other groups identified as acid jazz, and our influences are more diverse. Other descriptions such as "funk band," "jam band" and "improvisational groove band" have been bandied about, but even those don't tell the whole picture. To quote Lloyd Sachs, music critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, "Liquid Soul stakes a claim as the country's foremost proponents of acid jazz. The tag is lame. But as long as it sells Liquid Soul's galloping grooves, belting horn charts and infectious wall-to-wall energy, it will suffice."