Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Bob Baldwin -

This, for me, is the best album that Bob has delivered. Bob has created a 16-tracker that blends bouncy jazz, smooth jazz (but nothing drear), soul, funk as well as a tasteful injection street poetry. This vibrancy reminds me of Bobby Lyle's 1997 album “The Power Of Touch”– what a crackin' CD that was, and this is from the same bag. The set includes a whole host of talents, including, Freddie Jackson, Najee, Marion Meadows, Phil Perry and Frank McComb. Interested? I thought you might be! It is this sort of injection of talent into the thriving, talented mind of Bob Baldwin that we can expect something more than half-decent to pop out.

My faves include the sultry opening song, “Jeep Jazz” featuring the spoken word of Zoiea, and along with the slight hip-hop beats, soulful vocals, piano (of course!) and warm fender keys, this is definitely Impromp2 territory. Like the last CD and you'll love this as par for the course. The Greg Karukus-ish “Third Wind” also impresses, and tiptoes merrily through the Smooth Jazz muzack minefield without managing to blow of a limb! There's a re-working of “Somebody Else's Guy” by the powerhouse Jocelyn Brown, and the Lady herself is drafted in to deliver the goods. A smart version, and redrafted for both a 21st Century Soul ear, as well as for those who like smooth remakes. I prefer the laid back and comforting, yet meaty, “Take My Hand”which is a semi-instrumental. If you appreciate the work that Najee has done of late then this will appeal to you. A more uptempo effort contains the youthful, yet soulful vocal chops of Tyrone Iris – a new name, but someone I'd be interested in seeing develop further. Ex-Starship Orchestra member Marion Meadows steps to the foreground with the delectable “She's All That”; the beats very subdued, allowing Marion to showcase his skills. My KILLER Cut has to be the magical “Too Late” featuring Phil Perry. The track kicks off in a way that makes you think “oh yes!”, then Mr. Perry starts doing his thing. Absolute magic, and although there are plenty of winners on here, I'd buy the CD for this track alone.

Interesting to see “Natural Thing” on here. This was, of course, on Freddie's 2004 album and was, for me, the only real contender on it. Now hard to find, its wonderful to see it on here. Frank McComb is another GOD and his work on “Flying High” adds some freaky keyboard work and scat that adopts a groove more akin to the glorious fusion days of the late 70s. Wonderful stuff! To cap it all, there's a wonderful jazz-rap effort from ASoulBorn called “Don't Keep Me Waiting”. This is totally compulsive listening, the epitome of urban chic and if there must be rap, let it be like this! This CD is definitely one to add to your wants list – somewhere near the top as well, I imagine. SUPERB.

Barry Towler

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