Russ Lawton and Ray Paczkowski have been members of the Trey Anastasio Band for over a decade, but with Anastasio busy on Phish’s never-ending tours, they may have some free time on their hands. The duo has recorded their debut album as jazz-funk duo Soule Monde, Lawton on drums and Paczkowski on Hammond B3 organ. And from the sound of the first two songs they’ve released, Must Be Nice is a corker.
In Haitian Creole, “soule monde” translates to “smashed world” (the title of their first EP), though the moniker is sort of a coincidence – “Soule” is Lawton’s middle name while “Monde” comes from Paczkowski’s first name Raymond. “Smashed world” makes a good description though. While there are definitely world-music rhythms in the mix here, they’re smashed with funk, jazz, and far-out soul. Like Booker T. jamming with Ginger Baker, Paczkowski and Lawton make instrumental music of the most exciting sort.