Friday, 20 February 2009

Big Brooklyn Red - Foreword - 2002 - Big Brooklyn Red

Big Brooklyn Red is a force of nature. The man is a unique talent and records his material exactly as he sees fit, sometimes wandering into a studio in the middle of the night, laying his vocals down then handing it to the musicians later so that the track can be cut live there and then! That's real music making! This guy can also apply himself to any style - 2006 saw his workings on the House label, Deep Haven, to amazing affect, the best work for my money being the "He Moves" 12" single. Recently he has worked on more garage material with Patrick Green and 2009 awaits a NEW album. Gary Spence recently gave an exclusive spin of the man's devastating new song, and if his new CD is anything like this 2002 number then I will be in soul heaven. I was blown away by the "Time" track when I heard it for the first time and could not wait to hear the whole album – which is of an equally high quality. Brooklyn, as I alluded, is a freestyler, his musicians fluid yet tightly drawn around his vocals.

Musically, one is immediately reminded of early Frankie Beverly and Maze; the music here is recorded sometimes in one take, live in the studio!! "Time" was a complete cut from his second attempt and "God Is Good" was recorded in one felt swoop! Soulful vocals, jazzy sentiments and completely real, all 8 tracks stand up to the Soulchoonz quality check. If today's Neo-Soul artists are your bag then you are onto a winner with this album.
The opening song, "Time" will put the icing on the cake from word go; the gorgeously exuberant summer vibe of "Sweeter Than Springtime" will please you further. For today’s uncertain times is the socially conscious groove of "The War Within", accompanied by some able trumpet. The female spoken intro of "Paradise" draws us into another sublime piece of summertime soul jazz with Red’s versatile voice swaying along with the real instruments perfectly. What I would love to do, after hearing these songs is to see the man live in action. It is obvious from the material, the musicianship and the sheer quality of vocalisation that theirs would be one hell of a show. I also heartily recommend the erotic groove of "Put It On You" which is one of the 3 cuts that has any form of programming in it, but it is not at all out of kilter with the song or the rest of the more live, organic side of the album. The good times vibe of "My Destiny" is softly versed and features above all things a very neat rap by Hassan. Organic soul from the roots...another "CD Baby" purchase!

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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