Uncle Harlen’s Band
Northern California may be Philip K. Dick country, where Microbus Jerry’s fried-noodle solos and wamble still reign surpreme—at least among the championship hackysacker crowd. That said, Uncle Harlen’s Band exudes a soulful Southern vibe, from the whomp-de-whomp syncopation of the fonky Meters to the jazz-chord comping of the Allman Brothers Band or Atlanta Rhythm Section. On each of the 11 originals here, UHB stretches out nicely; the songs essentially serve as launching pads for extended groove exploration. Drummer Tom Monson and (former) bassist Lee Walthall lay down solid main ingredients, singer/keyboardist Jeff Coleman’s organ adds cornstarch to thicken, and guitarist Sean Lehe provides exemplary texture; Aaron Thurman blows sax on two tracks. Coleman does a Bill Payne-style Elton on a couple of cuts, but mostly this is one sweet little feat.