It’s a good thing that this Chicago-based quartet did not try to reinvent the wheel with their forthcoming debut release “Dig On It” (Tippin’ Records, out in October). Their sound is clearly inspired by the works of Booker T. & the MGs and they are not ashamed to recognize the influence of the Stax Records house band. In fact, one of the best rock-inflected originals on the CD is called “Booker,” and the liner notes acknowledge the influence that the creators of “Green Onions” have had on them.
The Skinny, however, is not a carbon copy of the classic quartet. For starters, they have stronger jazz chops, which is evidenced on original tracks like the bluesy “Slim’s Walk” and the funk-inflected “Long Division.” All the members’ (Kyle Asche on guitar; Ben Paterson on Hammond B-3; Jake Vinsel on electric bass and Mike Schlick on drums) self-penned material sounds great alongside classics like Kool and the Gang’s “Give it Up,” which is played here in an uptempo mode that showcases Asche’s technique and also the band’s ability to keep it up at such speed.
The Skinny might just be able to carry the torch of instrumental soul to the next generation of music fans, especially at a time when this kind of genre is slowly being rediscovered by younger audiences. (Ernest Barteldes)
August 31 at Nick’s Beer Garden, 1516 North Milwaukee, (773)252-1155, 9pm. Free.