Material: Becca Moore, a French expat who now calls California home, offers up funk, soul, jazz and social commentary with her “Soultown Super” project. With influences from Marvin Gaye to Stevie Wonder, activists in their own right, Moore takes what they started to another level: subject matter ranging from climate change to feminism, bringing on-the-nose lyrics to the compositions. There’s certainly no doubting Moore’s point of view.
Musicianship: The “Soultown Super” project features a slate of accomplished musicians, more than able to bring the jazz/soul mashup performance to life. Along with a ripping solo on the first song, “God Damn Pilot,” pianist Hirsh wrote the tight, well-crafted horn parts, which helped trumpeter Kirkpatrick and sax Solomon shine throughout the night. Moore has a multi-octave range and was not afraid to go for high notes and sus chord-tone note choices, hitting them with confidence and authority.
Performance: If nothing else, Moore was committed to her vision of this project and the subsequent performance. From the subtle band clothing color scheme, to beads and flyers distributed throughout the tables, the stage was literally set for a cohesive, message-driven show.
The set mainly featured compositions from her musical TV drama pilot, Soultown Super, a ‘70s throwback. While introducing each song with a background story helped bring a personal element to the performance, it also, at times, worked against the flow of the show. Despite the stopping and starting, the players handled the material expertly in support of the ultimate message.
Summary: Becca Moore is a multi-faceted artist who does not lack confidence in her abilities and vision. It is impressive to see a performer so engrossed in her work and passionate about conveying her beliefs in such a creative way.
She has a lot to say, and while it is engaging and thought-provoking, the breadth of topics felt overwhelming by the end of the night. A more focused approach will only benefit future performances by allowing the audience to be moved by the music and the powerful, on-point lyrics.
The Players: Becca Moore, lead vocals; Sam Hirsh, keys and harmony; Granville Young, bass; Harry McKenzie, drums; JJ Kirkpatrick, trumpet; Matthew Yeakley, guitar; Henry Solomon, sax, flute.
Photo by Kim Nakashima