Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Louie Vega - Elements Of Life: Extentions - 2005 - Vega Records

This is a brilliant example of quality soulful dance music. Those of you who are familiar with Louie Vega from his work back in the early 90s with Marc Anthony, Masters At Work and Nuyorican Soul will know what to expect with this album. “Extensions” is a remix project from various dance producers, and I have still to hear the original set but general consensus wass that this set is bar far superior to the original. The whole CD is really quite listenable, and it starts off in a rather downtempo groove with the lush and humid “Jungle Fever” and the excellent “Cerca De Mi” which features Raul Midon who provides a very good Frank McComb like performance prior to it flanging into a whopping great dancer. This caught a few discerning dancefloors alight here in the UK that much I know. “Sunshine” is unashamedly Latin and features the excellent Blaze and Raul Midon along with a great rhythm section and strings. Speaking of Blaze, they guest again on the excellent “Love Is On The Way” which is so much like the quality material that we can hear on their essential “Spiritually Speaking” album from 2002. This is very soulful indeed.

The throwback to the 70s disco scene is never far away where Louie is concerned. Just think about the awesome Salsoul-ish “Backfired” from “Our Time Is Coming” and you’ll know what I mean. Here to complement this we have the SUPERB tribute to Candido with a cover of his “Thousand Fingered Man”. Louie proves he knows his onions and is aware of the rich tapestry of black music that laid the path for much of today’s quality dance music. I love this, the irresistible groove, the 70s funky guitar riffs and timely bongos all revel in the rhythm and warm leading keyboard. Some of this CD is unashamedly Afro Cuban in places, but it is within the cosy Brazilian style that “Mozalounge” is set. The superb scat vocal, piano and light hi hat beat whisks me away again to Rio. Again, a warm Latin feel drenches “Mos Vida”, which is a great track. Raul Midon bounces back with a blinding vocal track “A Better Day” and provides us with one of the best highlights on this set. Also check the Caribbean house vibe of "Steel Congo" - also a refreshing vibe. I strongly recommend this album. Well recommended!

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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