It’s hard to say if it was spirituality that was brought to jazz, or if jazz was brought to spirituality. Either way, the union between the two has been strong throughout jazz’s history, whether it’s the musicians sharing their beliefs, or the music being a means to heal. What Dave LeMieux & House Of Soul do with Jazz Shaped: Live At The Soiled Dove (self-titled) is show the healthy exchange between the two, and even if you are not spiritual or religious, you can still feel a sense of admiration and power in these songs.
The album begins with John Coltrane‘s “Acknowledgement”, done like the original, before it goes into a soulful interpretation of Pharoah Sanders‘ “The Creator Has A Master Plan” (from his Karma album). It’s a unique twist to a Sanders classic, the purist in me wants to say “no, no one should mess up this song” but it’s cool to hear what a song like that if performed in a completely unexpected context from the original. Their take on the almost-mandatory jazz song “Giant Steps” is brilliant, and I love what LeMieux and the band were able to do by making this jump and scream.
The rest of the album balances itself between bebop and soul/R&B, all of which are united by a calling for “the one”, and it very much works. Everything can be Jazz Shaped if you allow your mind to do so.