Soul and funk have long been kissin’ cousins. On his debut recording, Ladies & Gentlemen… Nigel Hall, the Washington D.C. native—and New Orleans resident since 2013—vigorously celebrates their close relationship. The keyboardist and vocalist also makes a case for why soul music has seemingly—and rightfully—seen a rise in its popularity on today’s music scene.
Hall, who gained a solid reputation for his work with Lettuce and Soulive and is heard on pianist/vocalist Jon Cleary’s latest CD, GoGo Juice, goes for pure soul on the disc’s kicking opener, his and guitarist Eric Krasno’s “Gimme a Sign.” With Hall on a big B3 and Wurlitzer, it’s got everything one might want and expect from a soul tune from the 1960s and ’70s—Hall’s screamin’ vocals, back-up singers—freshened with Lettuce’s guitarist Krasno and drummer Adam Deitch. It’s a get up and dance number for sure.
“Gimme a Sign” and Hall’s “Never Gonna Let You Go” immediately feel like old friends. Before long, it’s easy to find oneself singing along to their catchy refrains. The originals are in musically like-minded company alongside tunes like Ann Peebles’ “I Can’t Stand the Rain” and vibraphonist Roy Ayers’ funk-edgy “Try, Try, Try.”
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