REVIEW: Chicago Soul Jazz Collective Gives Us All A Place Of Musical Solace With “It Takes A Spark To Start A Fire”



Once upon a time in 2017, tenor saxophonist John Fournier and trumpeter Marques Carroll, between takes at a recording session with famed singer-songwriter Robbie Fulks, struck up a conversation in which they discovered that were both dealing with the tumultuous state of the world in much the same manner – by listening to and taking solace in their classic soul jazz records.

Inspired by their conversation with each other, the two men decided to join forces to form a jazz ensemble (The Chicago Jazz Soul Collective) that would openly play the jazz classics that they both cherished and revered so deeply. Spurred on by the enthusiastic reception of their early live shows together, ultimately the ensemble progressed beyond the playing of just covers and as a group began to perform their own original compositions. 

With It Takes a Spark To Start A Fire, their second album together, this brilliant ensemble presents an album that is, just like the aforementioned jazz soul classics that inspired it, one that we can all take solace in.

Recorded mostly live in the studio in an effort “to capture the sound we’ve created together” as Fournier puts it, the record is altogether an exhilarating ,refreshing  and comforting collection for any fan of American music during this stressful and spiritually exhausting rollercoaster ride that 2020 has been and still is for all of us.

The soaring titular track lives up to its name and sits as the igniting centerpiece of the album which also includes six other white hot tunes which all captivate and soothe in their own distinctive way. 

With its underpinning of blues, soul, and R & B this is a jazz record with musical offerings that speak to our moment as a nation.

To quote Fournier again as he further speaks of the album “It seems to sound fresh and appealing to a wide range of ears and gives folks a lift. In these troubled times, that’s a pretty exciting place to be.”

It is an assessment I agree with and maintain that if you give this record a spin you, as a listener, will concur also.

It Takes A Spark To Start A Fire (JMARQ Records)by the Chicago Jazz Soul Collective, is now available on the band’s website .

Chicago Soul Jazz Collective is: Marques Carroll on trumpet, Amr Fahmy on Rhodes piano, Andrew Vogt on bass, Larry Brown Jr. on guitar, Keith Brooks II on drums, John Fournier on tenor sax and music composition.

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