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Three Miles Davis alumni and funk-feel-freaks, groovemeister bassist Darryl Jones,
master drummer Ndugu Chancler, and keyboardist John Beasley,
join forces to form 3 Brave Souls and baptize classic jazz flavorings with
contagious, penetrating funk grooves with honey dew sounds of southern soul.

Feb 08, LA: Jazz Bakery/Kirk Douglas Theatre –
Feb 05+06: Jazz Alley – 


John Beasley – Rhodes piano, Clavinet, Wurlitzer electric piano, Hammond B3, synthesizers
Darryl Jones – bass, vocals, guitar, percussion
Ndugu Chancler – drums, vibes, kalimba, congas, timbales, percussion, vocals/rap
Sy Smith – vocals
Dwight Trible – vocals
Gregorie Maret – harmonica
Bob Sheppard – baritone saxophone
Leon Mobley – Djembe
Francisco Torres – trombone
Steve Tavaglione – ewe
Monet Owens – vocals

Track Listing

1. Black Friday
2. Wanna Get Away? (feat. Sy Smith and Dwight Trible)
3. Nothing Left To Say (feat. Sy Smith)
4. Come and Gone
5. Alaya (feat. Bob Sheppard)
6. Nail it Down
7. Love’s Graces (feat. Sy Smith)
8. Ubiquitous
9. Yabis (feat. Francisco Torres and Leon Mobley)
10. Stay
11. N2U (feat. Gregorie Maret)




Jazz Wise Magazine, By Robert Stone
John Beasley, Darryl Jones, Ndugu Chancler, 3 Brave Souls – 3*

John Beasley, Darryl Jones, Ndugu Chancler are seasoned music pros (Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson: you name them, at least one of the trio has played with them), who all passed through the ranks of Miles Davis’ various bands at one time or another.  Not that this deeply groovy, R&B-centred project – which takes its overarching sonic character from Beasley’s inventive use of an arsenal of different keyboards – has much to do with Davis and his musical legacy.

Beasley’s Afrobeat-buoyed ‘Yabis’ adds Francisco Torres’s groovy trombone and Leon Mobley’s djembe work, while Gregoire Maret’s tender blowing on harmonica broadens the sound palette again on the closing ballad, ‘N2U’.  Sy Smith adds soulful vocals on three cuts, including the funked-up ‘Wanna Get Away’, while Jones brings his gravelly vocal charms to his own composition, the Sly Stone-esque ‘Stay’, which has lovely keys work from Beasley.  Inessential perhaps, but it’s beautifully played and produced, and it makes for a very satisfying low-lit accompaniment to an evening’s grooving.
Jazz Journal By Dave Jones
John Beasley, Darryl Jones, Ndugu Chancler – 3 Brave Souls – 4*

I first enjoyed the decidedly funky, Herbie Hancock influenced keyboard playing of John Beasley on his 1992 debut Cauldron, an album influenced by late period Miles Davis material (Beasley played with Miles in the late 80s), and more recently on his 2008 album Letter To Herbie (a tribute to the aforementioned Hancock).  3 Brave Souls is a beautifully recorded and mixed self-titled debut album by a trio where Beasley is joined by Darryl Jones and Ndugu Chancler, whose respective credits read like a who’s who of the past few decades in popular music.

The compositions here, penned largely by Beasley and Chancler, with contributions by Jones and the impressive guest Sy Smith, are in funk, soul and jazz crossover territory, and the album sounds much as you would expect from this trio of seasoned session players with their musical backgrounds from New Orleans and Chicago, and their roots in funk and soul music.  In terms of musical arrangements, Beasley appropriately utilizes an array of classic keyboard sounds, often to very subtle effect.

The album’s jazz sensibilities are most apparent in the funky opener, and also from around the middle of the album onwards where Beasley (with Chancler adding vibes solo and lead lines) and guest baritone saxophonist Bob Sheppard stretch out over Ayala and Nail it Down Bassist Jones provides typically nimble, melodic bass lead and solo lines on Ayala and Ubiquitous, while towards the close of the album, the trio with trombonist Francisco Torres and Leon Mobley on djembe nods in the direction of Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat on Yabis.

Hi Fi News, By SH

While writing prolifically for TV and film since the 1980s, Beasley has worked with Sergio Mendes, Steely Dan and Miles Davis.  More recently (2008) he had a jazz hit with his all-star tribute, Letter to Herbie, but now he’s put together a masterful funk trio.  The other two Brave Souls are Miles alumni too, as drummer Ndugu Chancler worked with Davis in the early ‘70s and bassist Darryl Jones played on Decoy and You’re Under Arrest.  Briefly-heard guests here include Bob Sheppard and Gregoire Maret, and there’s a scattering of soulful vocals from Sy Smith.  If you can still groove to the meatiest, beatiest keyboard sounds, this is for you.

Jazz Times by Philip Booth
What happens when three veterans of Miles’ bands of the early ‘70s through late ‘80s, all of whom have also supported high-profile pop and rock tours and recordings, join forces for their own project?  3 Brave Souls, featuring the talents of journeyman pianist, organist and keyboards player John Beasley (Chaka Khan, Steely Dan, James Brown), omnipresent bass hero Darryl Jones (Rolling Stones, Madonna, Sting, Eric Clapton) and onetime Weather Report drummer Ndugu Chancler (Michael Jackson, Santana, Herbie Hancock) feels like a particularly eclectic brand of funk.  It’s the kind of broadly sourced, sometimes danceable music that could gain favor among fans of R&B, neo-soul, smoth jazz and even jam bands.  That’s a compliment.

The trio is joined by guests on half of the disc’s 11 tracks.  The most jazz-intensive is probably the closer, “N2U,” its watery keyboard textures and slow-burn rhythms topped by Gregoire Maret’s infectious harmonica work and featuring Beasley’s retro-modern Rhodes solo; he throws in a sneaky quote from Miles’ “Four.”

Vocalists take the lead on several tracks, with Sy Smith on the soulful stew of the Meters-ish “Wanna Get Away?”; harmonies-laden R&B groover “Nothing Left to Say,” sparked by a catchy keyboard figure; and the silky ballad “Love’s Graces.”

Bob Sheppard’s bari sax spikes the heavily layered “Ayala,” tinged with Middle Eastern rhythms and textures and limned with Chancler’s vibraphone and a brief Jones solo, while the musical action moves to Africa for “Yabis,” with its hypnotic grooves, trippy synthesizer work and Francisco Torres’ trombone solo.  There’s seldom a dull moment here, whether the zippy fusion of opener “Black Friday”; sweet instrumental ballad “Come and Gone,” its melody voiced by Jones’ bass; the frenetic “Nail It Down,” with Chancler’s spoken-word declarations; or “Stay,” a punchy Sly Stone-style urban concoction giving the bassist a well-taken shot on vocals.

 UK Drummer,  January 2013
Brent Keefe ****
Beasley, Chancler and Jones have serious pedigree between them, with all three being Miles Davis alumni, and their collaborative debut serves up a classy slice of 70s-drenched funk/soul with the emphasis on soulful groove and melody, even during soul with the emphasis on soulful groove and melody, even during solos.  The 11-rack collection mixes instrumentals and songs, featuring vocalist Sy Smith on the infectiously funky “Wanna Get Away” and “Nothing Left to Say.” Each member composes with Ndugu offering “Black Friday.”  The soulful 12/8 of “Come and Gone. “Nail it Down” featuring Ndugu’s vocal and “N2U,” which contains Gregoire Maret’s Stevie-influenced harmonica tones.  Darryl Jones then delivers a soulful lead vocal on his Sly Stone-influenced “Stay,”  The eastern leanings of Beasley’s “Ayala” and his African-infused “Yabis” round out this soulful album.

Something Else! Nick DeRiso –

3 BRAVE SOULS (R&B): An album of soul jazz that brings together three alumni from the Miles Davis bands? We are so there. And keyboardist John Beasley (from Davis’ late-1980s touring band); bassist Daryl Jones (with Miles for 1984′s Decoy and ’85′s You’re Under Arrest; and drummer Ndugu Chancler (who played with Davis in the early 1970s) don’t disappoint, creating a tangy, ass-wiggling funk on their self-titled debut for BFM Jazz. It’s tempting to focus on the great, greasy lines by Beasley, whose 2011 record Positootly! was nominated for a Grammy, but Jones and Chancler are just as important to this album’s potent pulse: Jones takes a vocal turn on the Sly Stone-influenced “Stay,” while Chancler — maybe best known for his later turn on Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” — adds a spoken-word contribution to the sizzling “Nail It Down.” Throughout, they create a groove so deep you could fall right in.

Urban Flux Rob Young –

Perhaps equally as important to their friendship, 3 Brave Souls collectively has an unparalleled common denominator. In fact, at various intervals early on they played integral roles and develop their character as musicians by performing with the legendary Miles Davis. Therefore, they unexpectedly became beneficiaries of their tenure with Miles. As a result, these astute alumni essentially qualify to make reoccurring deposits to others and frequent withdrawals from this expansive template of innovative, progressive and creative music rooted in the spirit of love, imagination and passion to play music.
Initially when I placed their “Self-Titled” disc into the CD player, I thought so but I wasn’t ready to plug into the sumptuous potion of distinct, powerful and peerless music created by this superb Trio. The beauty about this collaboration is when you have like-minded voices utilize their resources properly great things can happen. In this case, we have the multifaceted keyboardist and instrumentalist John Beasley from New Orleans paired with his homey Ndugu Chancler proficient drummer-instrumentalist needed yet another essential alias to complete this task. Therefore, bassist, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Darryl Jones was the missing link to help accomplish their goal. Now that’s what’s up, this infallible threesome joins forces on their debut on BFM Jazz. Together, they collectively stir up a melting pot of jazz-funk, organic grooves, and soulful sounds resonate feverishly through the walls of these eleven songs is uplifted to greater heights by an extraordinary cast of guest performers.
Out of the box, the trio jump starts the session with the gutsy yet animated funk baptized in a pool of organic, contagious and penetrating grooves embodied in “Black Friday.” As anticipated, this gem groans with tempting flavors, beats and accents of old school jazz and funk rests in the body of homegrown Memphis soul. Next we have the soulful, hip and mesmerizing vocals by Sy Smith, the songstress will simply blow you away with her downhome swagger on “Wanna Get Away?”
Apparently the guys couldn’t get enough of vocalist Sy Smith, so they decided to marry her voice with Dwight Trible on the downhome greasy, easy and back porch Church grooves of “Nothing Left to Say.” At midway point of the album, the gifted Smith is showcased once again with the sexy and vivacious ballad titled “Love’s Graces.”
Actually it’s been years since I’ve had the opportunity to savor the soothing honey dew sounds of southern soul this project embellishes, the lyrically persuasive melody of “Come and Gone” brings back even more sweet memories. The next song features two distinguished and unsung sax giants in their own right Bob Sheppard and Steve Tavaglione. They are featured soloist on the fusion infected “Ayala.” The band cooks rhythmically by gradually blending a pot of mystic brew of off-metered progressions on this progressively funky gem!
Some artists are like fine wine they age proportionally and with maturity they simply get better and mo-better in a matter of time. Case in point, the multi-talented rhythm keeper of the trio Ndugu Chancler sings and raps on the funky and toe-tapping beats of “Nail It Down.”
“Ubiquitous” is up next, this track features Beasley on Hammond and Chancler on the Kalimba solos mirrors the flexible melodies and grooves of the Crusaders meets Earth, Wind & Fire with a heavy flow of tenacious and relentless beats as the centerpiece with danceable disco layered over the top surrounds this baby from beginning to the end!
Bassist Darryl Jones is featured lead vocalist on “Stay,” this Sly Stone influenced tune is engulfed sonically in this Titans groove certainly makes you wanna dance and shout. Finally, the album winds down with the distinctive harmonica solos featuring Grégoire Maret on the gorgeous “N2U” which is lavished with rich and compelling lyricism.
I will say this without hesitation, this album is seriously for old school jazz-funk and soul music aficionados. The consummate voice of this determined Trio serves up a tasty gumbo of raw, funky and soulful music not often expressed in sphere of today’s music. Over the years cats like Beasley, Chancler and Jones honed their creative voices by performing with infinite number of artists and mastered their skills. In return, a plethora of records have been created and recorded by them. At the beginning and end of the day, when it’s all said and done this Trio’s groove is tight, funky and fits perfectly in sync with relevant music while adapting the mythology of old school with their “Self-Titled” debut ultimately delivers a powerhouse performance.
Recommended by Rob Young | Urban Flux Media | Review

MIDWEST RECORD Volume 35/Number 245 – June 23, 2012
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher –

3 BRAVE SOULS: Describing themselves as a funk power trio, this aggregation of three generations of Miles Davis sidemen, who have collectively played with everybody, join forces for a fun romp that feels like an off the clock session where the vibe is the major concern—and they let it lead the way. With more bite than a simple groove record, these major league jazzbos deliver a free and easy date that’s as friendly as a summer day with low humidity and just the right amount of heat. Tasty stuff that needs to happen more often. –

Sounds of Timeless JazzBy Paula Edelstein –
Funky, soulful, interplay. These are just a few words that can be used to describe the meeting of John Beasley, Darryl Jones and Ndugu Chancler on their new BFM Jazz release titled 3 Brave Souls. These musical masters forge a symbiotic sonic bond reminiscent of their individual efforts with the incomparable Miles Davis bands while coining their own musical vocabulary on 11 new compositions that each band member contributed to the recording. In addition to Beasley, Jones and Chancler, the trio invited such respected musicians as vocalists Sy Smith and Dwight Trible, saxophonist Bob Sheppard, Steve Tavaglione on EWI, Leon Mobley on djembe, trombonist Francisco Torres, Gregoire Moret on harmonica and backing vocalist Monet Owens to share their musical expertise. The set opens with Chancler’s “Black Friday,” a funky, soul/jazz piece with classic jazz flavorings that rise to the top. The musical excellence continues with the John Beasley/Sy Smith collaboration called “Wanna Get Away?” This song also features the killer multi-octave vocals of Sy Smith taking charge of a funky, boo-ga-loo kind of groove that immediately catches your ear. Its sudden stops and quick shifts in rhythm coupled with the imaginative harmonization on the bridge make this song a winner. Next Sy Smith is paired with Dwight Trible on “Nothing Left To Say,” which she also co-wrote with John Beasley. “Ayala” is an exotic gem that really reveals Beasley’s compositional integrity. This song is one of the more beautiful songs on the recording and really stays with you long after the song is over. “Stay” featuring Darryl Jones on vocals and “N2U” which features Gregoire Maret, wrap up the program and will leave you wonderfully lost in the music the ensemble has made together. On 3 Brave Souls, it’s easy to get lost in the fire and funk, the soul and the jazz but you can easily follow the light that this music emanates. Check it out.

Nothing But Bass –
Bassist Darryl Jones teamed up with keyboardist John Beasley and drummer Ndugu Chancler to form 3 Brave Souls, a trio informed by funk, roots, and jazz. In fact, each of the members are alumni of Miles Davis’s band and as such bring together incredible groove with intellectual playing. The group has released their self-titled debut album.

Jones, whose career credits include work with The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, and Madonna among others, keeps the grooves tight throughout the 11-track collection. “Come and Gone” shows off his melodic ability as he leads the group through a soulful melody, while he steps up to the microphone on the song “Stay.”

Jazz Chill Corner–
Three generations of Miles Davis alumni having fun playing progressive roots music – keyboardist John Beasley, bassist Darryl Jones and master drummer Ndugu Chancler – join forces in a formidable new funk trio called 3 Brave Souls. Harnessing Beasley and Ndugu’s hometown earthy undertones of New Orleans and Jones’ Chicago street-funk 3 Brave Souls are knee-deep in the groove on their self-titled debut for BFM Jazz.

From the revved-up, rootsy Meters romp “Wanna Get Away” and the downhome “Nothing Left to Say,” both featuring the remarkably soulful vocals of Sy Smith, to the hard-hitting Fela Kuti like instrumental “Yabis,” 3 Brave Souls make a potent statement on this debut outing. The aptly titled “Nail it Down” is a thick pocket groover with spoken words of wisdom by Ndugu. The mellow ballad “Come and Gone” is a showcase for Jones’ melodic penchant on the bass while Beasley conjures a hypnotic world music vibe on the exotic “Ayala.” Guest harmonica ace Gregoire Maret is featured on the lovely and lyrical “N2U,” Daryl Jones showcases his vocal ability on “Stay” with a Sly Stone-ish sound; and Sy Smith returns for the gorgeous ballad “Love’s Graces,” which Beasley wrote.

John Beasley who is the consummate musician, composer, and music director has worked with Chaka Khan, James Brown, Steely Dan, Queen Latifah, Aretha Franklin, and is currently the MD for ABC-TV “Duets” (featuring judges John Legend, Robin Thicke, Jennifer Nettles and Kelly Clarkson). Beasley wrote infectious songs that leave your foot tapping. His jazz background includes eight years with Freddie Hubbard and an eye-opening year (1989) with Miles Davis. Beasley’s previous record, Positootly! was nominated for a 2011 Grammy Award.

Bassist extraordinaire Darryl Jones is one half of the funky rhythm tandem in 3 Brave Souls. With his rock, jazz, blues experience playing with Miles Davis, Michael Jackson, and since 1993 touring with the Rolling Stones, groovemeister of the highest order, Jones’ credits include work with such pop stars as Cher, Madonna, Sting, Lionel Richie, Eric Clapton and Peter Gabriel.

The distinctive drums on Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” could only be Leon “Ndugu” Chancler. With a list of studio recording credits as long as the Dead Sea Scrolls, inventive drummer and consummate timekeeper, Ndugu has recorded and toured with Santana, Miles Davis, Michael Jackson, Herbie Hancock, George Duke and Weather Report.

3 Brave Souls, Beasley, Ndugu, & Jones, came together to write listenable, danceable melodic music bringing the funk and plenty of downhome soul, with an undercurrent of jazz sensibility to move you to the dance floor!

The Urban Music Scene – 4.5 stars / 5 stars
Album Review by Peggy Oliver –
Occasionally, I ponder about what truly inspires bands or vocal groups in choosing their names and what their thought process was behind it. For instance, the name 3 Brave Souls sparked immense curiosity. After checking their musical background, I particularly noted that John Beasley, Daryl Jones and Leon ‘Ngudu’ Chancler had one major common bond. These veteran musicians represented three generations who played behind modern jazz trumpet pioneer Miles Davis. Considering those 3 Brave Souls’ close association with Davis was partially enough for me to figure out that Beasley, Jones and Chancler must have been somewhat brave in interacting with his moody, intense personality..

Besides their Miles Davis credentials, 3 Brave Souls have contributed to the music industry in other capacities. Keyboardist John Beasley serves as musical director for the current reality talent series, “Duets.” Jones, who handles bass guitar duties for The Rolling Stones tours, has also worked with pop phenomenons Sting, Madonna and Lionel Ritchie. Chancler is one of the most respected drummer/percussionists around but one of his major calling cards is his pulsating funk beats driving Michael Jackson’s international hit, “Billie Jean.”

3 Brave Souls bridges their diverse talents for their self-titled debut to concoct an ambitious and mostly entertaining recipe of pop, world, R&B and soul injected with funk blasts and contemporary jazz class. “Black Friday” sweetly layers deep funk pockets with R&B and pop. Chancler and Beasley’s vibraphone and keyboard tandem run the table on “Nail It Down.” From the department of genius vocal casting, independent soul songstress Sy Smith is the perfect choice who compliments 3 Brave Souls’ eclectic personality. Her sassy lead and Beasley’s meaty organ solo propel “Wanna Get Away,” a Meters-esque romp that proudly stamps the lively spirit of New Orleans. The sleek eighties R&B-like “Love’s Graces” taps Sy Smith’s efficiency with slow jams, accented by Beasley’s spacey synthesizers. While Jones is very capable holding down the rhythm section, “Come and Gone” demonstrates his melodic bass lines with simplicity and fluidity. On the other hand, one of the few misfires on 3 Brave Souls is Jones’ lead vocal turn on “Stay.” “Ayala” ventures into jazz experimentation centered on different distinct textures of woodwinds: the EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument) played by Steve Tavaglione and Bob Sheppard’s baritone sax. “Yabis” is a certified African funk party complete with animated trombone by Francisco Torres, and a fierce percussion line of Leon Mobley on djembe (a hand drum originating from West Africa) and Chancler’s congas. “N2U” closes down 3 Brave Souls with Gregorie Maret’s harmonica and Beasley’s glistening keys locking in a relaxing jazz/soul vibe.

After experiencing this riveting debut, there absolutely is something about that name 3 Brave Souls that says slightly daring and dare I say – a brave and welcome move for the modern jazz market. I bet Miles Davis would be smiling on them as well.

The Birmingham Times –

Newly released on BFM Jazz is a dynamic collection titled 3 Brave Souls. This CD is a fantastic recording that is simply pure funk. Keyboardist John Beasley, Bassist Darryl Jones and percussionist Ndugu Chancler have produced a really remarkable album that is old school with a new school twist. It is fabulous.
3 Brave Souls possesses a truly unique sound. Incorporating the down to earth tones of New Orleans with the street funk of Chicago, it is a pleasing one of a kind collection. The set opens with “Black Friday”, a mid-tempo track that has a great vibe. “Come And Gone” is a mellow laid back tune. The defining elements in this selection are the string and keyboard instruments. Nothing but the soul is released on “Nail It Down.” It is one of the numerous danceable tracks; however, it features an added surprise – a modicum of spoken word by Ndugu Chancler.

One welcoming addition to this collective is the silky sounds of vocalist Sy Smith. She takes center stage on the track “Love Graces.” Likewise can be said about Gregoire Maret and his prowess over the harmonica and Darryl Jones’ vocals on the track “Stay.” He is awesome. Other featured guests are Dwight Trible, Bob Sheppard, Steve Tavaglione, Francisco Torres and Leon Mobley. Stated on John Beasley’s web site about 3 Brave Souls is: “Three generations of Miles Davis alumni having fun playing progressive roots music”—these so few words perfectly sum up the entire collection.
John Beasley is a Grammy nominated musician, composer, arranger and music director who has worked with Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Chaka Khan and many others. Daryl Jones has worked with a number of artists including Cher, Madonna, Sting, Lionel Richie, Eric Clapton and Peter Gabriel. Leon Ndugu Chancler is the distinct drummer on Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean. Santana, Herbie Hancock and George Duke are among the list of musician he has worked with.

Billings Gazette  by Cory Branan –
They call themselves “3 Brave Souls.”

Maybe it’s because all three survived stints with Miles Davis. Maybe it’s because they dare revive the seismic grooves of ‘80s funk.
Keyboardist John Beasley, bassist Darryl Jones and drummer Ndugu Chancler all spent time with Miles, although their all-star turns didn’t end there. Beasley also spent eight years with Freddie Hubbard and both Jones and Chancler played with Michael Jackson. On top of that, Jones has been touring with the Rolling Stones since 1993.
But enough about their bona fides.  The trio’s debut is good, old-fashioned funk channeled through New Orleans, with a cover of the Meters’ “Wanna Get Away” and the gospel-flavored original “Nothing Left to Say.”  It’s in the latter song that the trio pulls its trump card, the amazing vocalist Sy Smith, whose liquid purr swoops over and under the best cuts here. She also lights up the jumping “Wanna Get Away?” and the swooning ballad, “Love’s Graces.”  Chancler introduces “Nail it Down” with some smooth rap, in that groovy, pre-hip-hop sense of the word. And, the trio reaches for a world beat, adding conga and Kalimba to some cuts.
There’s only one beef here, and it’s a tiny one. The trio sometimes piles the funk conventions on a little too thickly, laying the Rhodes over the Hammond B3, stacking up the grunts, the groans, the bass runaways and the spoken-word swoons.

London, UK – THE TIMES
Album Reviews – John Bungey – Dec 01 2012 –
The Rolling Stones’ touring bass player joins an impressive line-up of talent on this tasty album of super-smooth funk.

Lurking in the shadows of the 02 stage this week, Darryl Jones, touring bassman with the Rolling Stones since 1993, may have wondered how rich he would be if just a tenth of the audience bought his music instead. Stones fans would probably take to his “funk power trio”, formed with drummer Ndugu Chancler and keyboardist John Beasley, also veterans of Miles Davis’s bands. They play super-cool funk that skirts just the right side of slick and is sometimes augmented by vocalists, mainly the soulful Sy Smith. Jones sings impressively on the Sly Stone-like Stay. Perhaps he should suggest it to Mick and the Boys.

UK, The SUNDAY TIMES by Clive Davis, Dec 02, 2012
“Soul-jazz” evokes loose blowing sessions from yesteryear, but it applies just as well to this instrumental-based collaboration between three musicians who all worked with Miles Davis at some point.  Beasley’s electric keyboards bring us more or less up to date, while Chancler’s drumming upholds the sweaty virtues of good old funk.  A virtuoso bassist, Jones was prone to gee-whizzery when he was with Miles; here, though, he lays solid foundations, and turns out to be a husky vocalist.  The singers Sy Smith and Dwight Trible, and the trombonist Francisco Torres, lead an astute guest list.

Album Review: John Beasley, Darryl Jones, Ndugu Chancier, 3 Brave Souls (Challenge)

All have done time with Miles Davis, one of them is the long-standing drummer with the Crusaders, another the regular live bassist with the Stones.

So, no chops there then. Yet chops is what we get: tasteful, grooved, uptown chops, where less tends to be more and everyone digs Gaucho. Fans of late-period Steely Dan should indeed prick up their ears. An assortment of vocalists do the melodious honours, but songs are really not the issue. Grooves are.