Thursday, 12 February 2009

Alex Lattimore - Promise

If you love classy soul with a jazzy edge then look no further than the smooth tonsils of Alex Lattimore. Alex’s vocals are so similar to Will Downing that one could be forgiven for thinking that this was a new Will Downing album! Not only does the voice strike me so, the music also strikes me too. The music is superb – real instrumentation a la Ronnie Foster with a dash of Samba. Plenty of flugel horn, piano and percussion. Alex also belies his love of quality music in other ways. Keith Washington’s “Kissing You” is one of my faves from the 90s and I would have feared any attempt to cover it…but I have to say that this is done with a wonderful sense of style…the sax, flugel horn and Samba backing really makes this a totally new, fresh and completely different record – and this is EXACTLY how I like cover versions to behave! In fact, I cannot fault the album at all. "Bernadette” is warm, summery and totally chilled and features a stylish Downing-esc jazz scat. More summery vibes can be found with the ethereal “Lullabye”. I like the horns against the chilled keys and haunting keyboard. Very nice indeed! The title song, “Promise” is a full-blown vocal effort and would not be out of place on either the Café Al Stars “Love Pages” set or the “Soul Of Brazil” compilation. This is totally classy, trust me. The upbeat and percussion-filled “Sunlight In My Rain” would not be out of step on Victor Brooks’ “Samba Soul” album and reminds me also of the best work of Bob Baldwin! “Windows” is beyond compare…sensual, tropical and as sultry as anything you can find. The roots of this come across to me as VERY Leon Ware…check the great Man’s “A Kiss In The Sand” set and you will hear what I mean. This is a definite highlight of the album.The cover of Keni Burke’s “Risin’ To The Top” is competent if not a match for the original but the sax work definitely works wonders against the bassline. The track “A Million Ways” is NOT a cover version of the Will Downing track from a few albums ago but a blinding original song that Will himself would not only be suited to, but would be envious of! The final track is also an excellent cut. “In Your Eyes” contains some tasty Lonnie Liston-Smith style keys and the flavour is very Flying Dutchman…such a classy effort. This rates, for me, as one of the standard bearing sets so far in 2008.

Barry Towler

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