When I think of San Diego, CA, I immediately think of Marcellus Wallace and his tight knit crew and their creative vinyl nights. From library music to almost impossible to find out of print soundtracks to Hip Hop, Funk, Soul, and beyond, their collective has been standing out for more than a minute by doing something no one else is. That’s what struck me with today’s feature, The Sure Fire Soul Ensemble. I’d hazard a guess, but there aren’t too many outfits branding themselves ‘heavy cinematic soul” bands in San Diego, let alone any other place. That’s a very specific niche and sound, and from what we’re hearing so far, these guys have it on lock. Led by the talented and multi-instrumentalist Tim Felton, who plays the Hammond, Farfisa, Wurlitzer, Shakere and Woodblock for starters, this seven piece includes Chris Lea on sax (baritone and alto), Matthew LaBarber on bass, Pete Williams on drums, Kiko Cornejo Jr. on congas and tamborine, Nicholas Costa on guitar, and Bill Caballero on trumpet and flugelhorn. That’s right, flugelhorn. Talk about adding some real cinematic elements in. These players aren’t fooling around. If it’s good enough for Freddie Hubbard and Lee Morgan, it’s good enough for The Sure Fire Soul Ensemble. These guys had me at organ and flugelhorn, but seriously, their music is top notch.
Their first single on Timeless Takeover contains two instrumentals: “Layin’ Low” b/w “IB Struttin’ “. The A-Side, “Layin’ Low”, has Afrobeat and Latin undertones with a wicked bass line from Matthew LaBarber throughout. Funky and catchy, this is exactly what we champion here at Flea Market Funk. Stylewise, TSFSE combines the old sounds of a Meters or Isaac Hayes and add the newer flair of guys like Menehan Street Band or Adrian Younge to their sound. A bit of the old meets the new if you will. The cinema soundtrack mood is there, and it’s captured perfectly on this side. Slight build ups lead to great horn sections while the guitar, drum and percussion work together to create a soundtrack for some film that needs a soundtrack. “IB Struttin’ ” is a downtempo scorcher al la the Meters featuring some cool organ, a great guitar part, and a saxophone solo that would be comfortable at home in a Quincy Jones type soundtrack. Atmospheric, funky, and the moody is the vibe TSFSE give off. If you are a fan of the organ (and we know you are), some gritty Funk, and beautiful original soundtracks, these guys are for you. Catch them playing live in Southern California and on vinyl at a good record store near you.
Like the band on Facebook.
Get the 45 here.
Sure Fire Soul Ensemble play “Passing Clouds” Live