Monday, 9 February 2009

Eric Daniel & Friends - Old Sax Nu Soul

This cheeky little number is one that almost slipped through my net. “Old Sax, Nu Soul” is a sturdy, chunky and punchy jazz album in the vein of the late, great J Spencer that will definitely be one to watch for. The sax on here is really put to work. Eric Daniel is not afraid of using this most hallowed instrument as a raw tool. It is sweet, chilled and soulful one moment, then almost screaming and tortured the next, pushed to its very limits. The musical tapestry is also very substantial indeed. The beats are programmed and heavy, almost to the point of hip hop, and the use of some turntable scratching a la mid/late 80s is used as is sexy synths, warm keys and an exuberant mix of vocalists. Some material on here is spoken word and Eric voices the narrative in his rich, sensual deep tones, reminding me of Mistah Llou from the recent Steppers Odyssey project. Eric is very much in command of all aspects of the groove on this CD, and I beg you not to let the heavier facets of this release put you off.
I heartily recommend the luxurious and cool “Walking On Moonlight”…imagine a sultry New York evening with the sound of sax drifting out from an open window. Very nice indeed, and the ethereal synth and tinkling piano add to the late night lustre of the song. The erotic groove of “Ooh Baby” may be vocally monotonous, but whoever he has his hands on is obviously worth it, and if it’s all the same to you, Eric, I won’t take your word for it – send her round to me, and I’ll soon be the judge of that! The track that will cause some commotion will be the title track, “Old Sax, Nu Soul” with its early 90s type urban groove and echoey sax and fine female vocals almost like Rosie Gaines work fantastically. The bluesy opening to Gotham City soon leads to a fine drumbeat, muted trumpet and freaky sounds a la the Sunburst band. The spoken word is deep, controlled and perfectly in tune with the screaming sax and bluesy guitar. Excellent stuff! Another spoken word gem is the righteous groove of “Deeper”, utilising some superb African percussion. At only under two minutes, though, I was left wanting much more! My personal favourite is the sensual and erotic chiller, “People”. I get chills when I play this. The synth reminds me of Jua’s recent gem, “Dream”. Subsequently its gets played a lot, and I think that this demands a purchase on this song alone! Do not let this one slip through the net!

Barry Towler