Monday, 23 February 2009

Jazzanova - Of All The Things

This is a really, really strong effort from this Berlin-based outfit and has to be their most eclectic yet soulful effort to date. Fans of today's modern club jazz scene will adore this, as will fans of a late 60s Motown sound too. Yes, it is that eclectic! I LOVE IT! There's enough different flavours on here to appeal to any member of the wide black music congregation! There are plenty of vocals and after one play through I felt aurally giddy and exhilarated. Real instruments, verve, optimism and some serious thought and passion went into it. AND on a major label too! Ambassador, you are treating us! LOL. Vocalist Phonte makes two appearances here and both are nothing short of excellent (the second cut is a Craig G type rap cut!) “Look What You're Doin' To Me” is simply a jaw-dropper. With some late 60s Norman Whitfield electric guitar, the groove is simply mesmerising and completely compulsive. Paul Randolph';s vocal cut, “Let Me Show Ya”, happens to be the new single and it has already been championed by the likes of Gary Dennis at Crazy Beat – and I totally approve. This summery, twangy soulful 60s effort ticks many a box and should get the clubs heaving. My God, can 2009's releases beat this???
If you love late 60s Motown then Ben Westbeech will woo you with the superb string-laden “I Can See”. I am in total ecstasy on albums and cuts like this. Oh how glad I am to see this type of album supported by a label as huge as Universal! The acclaimed Jose James makes his presence more than felt on the brooding and melancholic “Little Bird”. Fans of Gil Scott-Heron will warm to this. How simple a song and yet how perfect a match is Jose with but a piano and cello to back him. A master stroke. The King of Sensuality, Leon Ware, joins DwelĂ© on a remake of “Rockin' You Eternally” and the backing is very, very true to the original. IF they can recreate sounds like this then I certainly demand more NEW songs in this vein from them in the years to come. Sheer excellence. Joe Dukie's string-filled “What Do You Want” should impress, and I also want to guide you towards the SUPERB 70s jazz fusion of “Lucky Girl”. This is heaven, as is the Brazilian cut “Cafiera” which features none other than Azymuth! Love this and you will want their new CD too! Such a classy, classy set and one that will keep you on your toes. I cannot stop playing this set and thank heavens for albums like this. Simply brilliant.

Barry Towler