Sun Soul Orchestra | What Matters Most (s/r)

Sun-Soul-Orchestra 75

Sun Soul Orchestra just might find its way onto a jazz station turntable and, if so, big things could happen.


Here it is: What Matters Most, the long-awaited full-length album from L.A.’s Sun Soul Orchestra. The duo—Stephen “Steve” Theard and Ginger Murphy—has brought forth an incredible album of R&B and jazz fusion. The band has worked with many superstars of music, including Michael McDonald, Jeffrey Osbourne, Peabo Bryson, Terrance Trent D’Arby, Anita Baker, and New Edition, just to name a few.

Now, the duo unleashes 11 tracks of sultry, soulful blues mixed with an R&B flavor. Produced and arranged by Theard, the album has a great flow. Mixing original material with some well-selected covers, the tracks come together nicely, sporting cover tunes like The Rolling Stones’ classic “Waitin’ on a Friend,” on which the duo shine, and “In My House,” a sparkling rendition of the hit made big by the 1980s girl group The Mary Jane Girls. By far the most interesting track is the group’s version of the Bob Marley hit “Waiting in Vain,” which takes a jazzy turn. With the magnificent roster of players on this album, one could expect no less than is delivered here, which is a fantastically performed album.

As for the original material, it is bluesy yet current. With a jazzy side that pokes through just at the right moments, tracks like the album opener “Can’t Deny It” wear their mixture of jazz fusion and rock quite well. Sun Soul Orchestra just might find its way onto a jazz station turntable, and if so, big things could happen. They are melodic and possess just enough sass to make this release a fun listen. Overall, a good album, even for the remakes alone. B- | Marc Farr

About Marc Farr 244 Articles
Marc Farr is the Live Music & Assignments Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. He's so invaluable to us, we've nicknamed him Mr. Music. Reach out if you have coverage ideas! "I know it's only rock and roll...but I like it!"
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