Thursday, 5 February 2009

ALS - Every Day - Independent

Along with the Kendra Ross album this is one of THE albums of the moment and, again, delightfully intertwines soul, jazz and a drizzle of funk. Again, this is mainly live instrumentation and I feel is definitely one for those into the likes of Ledisi, Bridgette and Kathleen Bertrand. Being an independent outfit, too, there is no pressure to conform to what the suits want – hence why I am so passionate about it. This particular young Lady has a smooth, refreshing home-made feel to her and the warm, tight musical support is defiantly what is important here. The voice is an instrument and on songs such as “Through My Door” it takes its rightful place amongst plenty of instrumental action, the solo sax prominent. I guess you could call it music for a summer's day. “Possibilities” has more of a bassy programmed backbeat, but the melancholic early 80s keyboards and Rhodes, flute and heavenly vocals elevate this no won't find much stronger than this at the moment. The flute – one of my favourites – takes a strong supporting role on the deliciously relaxed and summery “Flyin' Bird” - a song with equally delightful lyrics. I am so in love with the atmospheric “Free” I cannot wait for some hot weather to come along. With the cool, perfectly punctuated muted trumpet and idyllic tinkling Rhodes, this is perfect 'cruisin' along the seafront' music. I hear echoes of JK and Ledisi on the jazzy “Let Me In”, and to say I have fallen in love with “Nu-Feel Higher” is an understatement. The mean, rumbling bassline, crisp beats and dreamy Rhodes hark back to better musical times. This is so early 1980s that it has to be heard to be believed. I would recommend this album on the strength of this song alone, and complements to producers Soulside and ALS for it. I also like the refreshing interchange with a slinkier jazzier funk style a la Steve Butler / Ron Haynes where the horns have more to say. “Livin' Water” will please, and that's for sure. Vocally I hear shades of Deniece Williams merged with Val Watson within the confines of “Kick It” which is both interesting and different. Think “Earth Wind & Fire” and “Flower” from Val's essential "Urbal” set and you will get a flavour of what ALS is all about. As I said, this is one of THE albums at the moment. Ignore it at your peril.

Barry Towler