Great soul music arguably improves every situation. Unlike punk rock, or blues, or EDM, it’s the rare genre that manages to transcend the particulars of just about every social setting. A dance? Check. A nice restaurant? Check. A boardroom meeting? Supercheck. Even a funeral is arguably the right place for it. And if you want great soul music, you want the best players. That’s precisely who Toby Pazner called upon to create The Olympians, an instrumental soul supergroup of sorts, who are releasing their debut self-titled album, out tomorrow on Daptone Records. The arranger and musician (Lee Fields & The Expressions) assembled a murderer’s row of top-notch players, including members of The Dap-Kings, The Arcs, Budos Band, Antibalas, The Tonight Show Band, and more.
Inspiration for the album come from an unlikely place, as Pazner found himself struck by a dream of creating contemporary soul music that would hearken back to the idea of ancient Athens, a fusing of old and new, in a process that took him years to create and perfect. “The Olympians was a labor of love for myself and all the extremely talented musicians involved in the project,” he tells The A.V. Club. “Using the best recording equipment and musicians I could find, I set out to make a sound all our own. I think we were able to create something new and interesting with a classic feel. It’s not easy to find the time to get so many busy musicians in a room to record but after years of work the album is finally set for release and we couldn’t be more pleased.” The entire album is streaming today exclusively on The A.V. Club, and we’ve been listening to it non-stop for the past week. It’s available for digital order or on vinyl and CD.