Thursday, 5 February 2009

Onyx1 ft Terrence Forsythe - Right Now - NL2 Records

Onyx 1 hail from Oakland, California and began life as Temptations-style vocal group but soon graduated to funk. They recorded sporadically, and a couple of years back one of their old funk cuts, ‘Break It Loose’ was featured on a very well received Bay Area funk compilation. Encouraged by the good press and decent sales, the group (brothers Wendell and Aaron Bassey and Malvin Scott) decided to reform but to beef up their sound they enlisted Detroit’s Terence Forsyth as lead – and what a great choice. Forsyth possess a silky smooth soul voice – a voice good enough to impress Richard Street who enlisted him into his touring incarnation of the Temptations… and I guess that’s the best comparison to draw. Onyx 1, have ditched the funk, and gone back to their harmony group roots. Their aim is to make real grown up soul music – and they’ve clearly succeeded. Hear their timeless sound to best effect on the harmony ballad that is ‘Mine All Mine’ – sweet, yet with a real soul edge. It’s so good in its original incarnation that the R&B–ish remix towards the end is redundant. Other goodies include the opener ‘Its Time For Love’, the melodic ‘When You Weren’t Looking, and the jazzy title cut which features great piano from Jimmy Ali. All are gentle and mid-paced – but though outwardly sedate they have a real soul undertow and should please sophisticated soul people and smooth jazz fans alike.

Bill Buckley

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