Thursday, 5 February 2009

Rene Jones - Chill Factor - Independent

Rene Jones is a new indie singer whose debut set demands attention from all discerning soul fans. Hailing from Columbus, Georgia, Rene had her musical initiation in the church (her father was the local choir’s piano player) – and it shows. For one so young (I presume) her voice is warm, mature and soulful – instantly recalling the wonderful Anita Baker. That Baker link will be most obvious on the album’s immediate grabber – ‘Everything I Need’. It’s a wonderful mid-tempo item with tight beats and scorching sax interludes that will remind you of Kirk Whalum, even David Sanborn. But it’s the pleading vocal that makes the cut what it is. Elsewhere there’s plenty of sultry ballads – best typified by ‘Sensuality’. Sub-titled ‘Kama Sutra Love’ its hot stuff for a church–reared girl. Dancers might be tempted off the wall by the mid-tempo title track or the two step shuffle that is ‘You Know’ – this one really builds towards the end. Other goodies include the light vibe that is ‘Summer Day’ (with a quasi-rap that may recall Jazzy Jeff’s similarly named epic) and ‘Stay’ which features some great interplay with the backing singers. Indeed for an indie album, there’s been no stinting on the production and the songs aren’t the usual self-written, self-produced plodders you often get with indie sets. Take my word for it, here’s an album and an artist that deserves to be right up there with the big soul players.

Bill Buckley

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