Chanda Rule + Sweet Emma Band, Hold On Review
by Ferell Aubre
Chanda Rule is a vocalist, published writer, and storyteller that uses her music for community building and communal healing. Her stories combine original narrative, sacred text, and music to communicate her message. Musically she uses work songs, chants, gospel, blues, and NU-grooves on her new album, Hold On. Rule is joined by the Sweet Emma Band, named to honor famed New Orleans pianist “Sweet Emma” Barrett. Rule explores music that was heard in fields, churches and social gatherings of African Americans. The common thread is the rich sounds of blues and gospel with jazz from different eras and geographical and sociological influences.
“Hold On” starts with a profound statement form organist Jan Korinek, with deep support from drummer Christian Salfellner. Rule’s entrance is dramatic as she commands the airwaves with her big bluesy sound that is overflowing with emotion and authentic inflections. Paul Zauner’s trombone solo is emotive with his plunger work. The arrangement has different twists and turns to keep the flow in a forward motion. The three horns also give the song many colors and emotions with well-written parts.
“Rosalie” is the perfect blend of gospel, blues, and jazz that Rule excels at and presents with passion. Her vocal range and control are inspiring. Tenor saxophonist Osian Roberts digs deep into the funky groove and blows a stirring solo. Trumpeter Mario Rom follows with his own brand of burning jazz-funk. The rhythm section of Korinek and Salfellner lays down a groove that is special, but Rule’s blues inflections are the highlight of this track. This one is deep folks.
Rule is a very gifted singer. Combine that with the sounds of the Sweet Emma band, and Hold On to your seat, this is a fun ride of creative jazz. The material and feels are always delightful, with Rule’s vocal charisma leading the way. Hold On is nine songs that should absolutely be a part of any vocal jazz collection, and instrumental fans will also enjoy Rule’s vocal control and the playing from the Sweet Emma Band.