I WAS THERE . . . Slavic Soul Party! @ Southpaw, 10/2/09

All photos by Finn Campman

The 10+ member brass band Slavic Soul Party! has definitely come a long way from their humble Brooklyn roots. With a popular, long-standing Tuesday night residency at Barbès in Park Slope, Slavic Soul Party! has and continues to pack the house every week for a Balkan dance party unlike any other, quickly making them the buzz of Brooklyn. Fresh off their successful West Coast tour, the now internationally-touring band stopped back in Brooklyn at Southpaw for the CD release party of their new album Taketron before heading off again on tour to conquer Europe, and presumably, the rest of the world.

Self-branded as “Balkan-soul-gypsy-funk,” Slavic Soul Party! lives up to their description with a massive brass section consisting of some of the best jazz musicians in New York City, showing their versatility and serious chops on both technically-difficult Eastern trill passages as well as full-on funk solos James Brown would be proud of. The blistering horn lines came from the trumpet and clarinet players, but the real soul and funk grooves that turn the Balkan music into body music were laid down by the wailing, sliding horn lines from the tuba and trombone players as well as the superbly nasty breakbeats from the bass drum and snare duo headed by bandleader Matt Moran.

Not to be outdone, the performance by the accordion player, emerging from the background to give some of the best solos of the entire night was a particular highlight as were the few songs featuring the lovely songstress Eva Primack, whose voice closely mirrored the difficult Balkan trill passages of the horns and often surpassed them in her expression. In the end, Slavic Soul Party! managed to recreate the intimacy of their Barbès nights by coming offstage and into the joyous crowd, who followed the band around the dancefloor as if it was a brass band procession straight out of New Orleans.

Linh Truong

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