By Peter Boskey

Acid jazz/R&B/funk group Liquid Soul just released its fourth album, “Evolution.” The Chicago-based octet is known for its tight horn licks, incredible solos and innovative fusion techniques while combining elements of jazz, hip-hop and even techno.

The album opens with “Action Jackson,” a funky, upbeat Latin track. This instrumental track is filled with rich, warm funk guitar, heavy horn licks and a flawless percussion section. “Sun Ra” blends into “Action Jackson” perfectly, as it’s slower and bouncier. With extremely low bass tones and an excellent use of synthesizers, this song undoubtedly will make it onto WNUA 95.5.

-“La La” comes as quite a shock, due to its electronic drums, and has an acid house feel. “Nina’s in Jail” is a slower, funkier track with heavily-chorused guitar, trippy electric piano chords and guest vocalist Nikki Lynette. The only problem with this track is that the producers pushed the vocals up way too loud.

“I Was Meant to Be Rich” is an upbeat, chaotic track with a tight horn section playing off the occasional vocal hook. “Bossa Interlude” is a phenomenal, but short, bossa nova section that abruptly cuts to the next track, “Mercedes.” This is a samba track with guest vocalist Christina Sanchez singing about a “quickie” in a Mercedes-Benz.

A smoother beat is heard on “This and That,” which has a ‘70s-sounding clavichord playing off an excellent jazz guitar. Liquid Soul pulls in guest MC, Gravity, to flow over the next track “Soul,” which has a funky slap bass backing the MC. While Gravity’s talent doesn’t match that of the group, he does give props to Chicago.

“Mean Machine” is a bluesy song with a few vocals here and there in a call and response pattern. The album ends with “The Lonely Bull,” a slow track with trippy wah-guitar and a few scratches in the background — a rather dull track to end an album.

Liquid Soul proves they still have the funk in them. While the guest vocalists aren’t that great, the instrumentalists are still working hard to bring quality acid jazz that is now so rare to find.