Friday, 10 April 2009

Ariana Jane - Imagination of Love

January 2009 sees a brand new talent in our midst backed by an all-time favourite of ours! Firstly, the new talent: Ariana Jane is an exciting new vocal Jazz artist with leanings towards the Great Songstresses of the past, with a voice ripped with soul, pain, anguish and hope, Her voice is textured and multi-dimensional and so, so refreshing. The all time-favourite of ours is a writer, musician, arranger and producer of MONSTER proportions who is no less than Chapter 8 supremo, Michael J Powell! So, fans of this man and dexterous, vocal Jazz will be happy with “Imagination Of Love”. You may need to play the CD a few times before it hits you – mainly because what you expect from Michael may not be so outright jazzy, but his great hand easily wins out and the music itself, provided by the Detroit Katz – Mike Mindinghall, Steve Hoell, Marlon Bebop Crawford, Randy Scott, Deshawn Jones, Quinten Dennard and Darrell Campbell. All very, very able and skilled musicians and all worthy of a shout out! The CD is dedicated to Michael Lamar Powell – so obviously a sad loss has occurred here during the recording process, and love therefore goes out to all concerned. Imagination Of Love” is a subtle yet alluring title, offering the listener many possibilities and from that source what Michael and Ariana have worked to do is expose this miasma in only the way they can. With style. The album does not disappoint, but for me the real majesty starts reigning on “Mirage”. Sexy, slinky and drizzled with plenty of Sax and backing vocals, this song hits the spot both musically and lyrically. The crashing and vibrant “Friday Night In New York” paints a much better picture than most Hip Hop acts would prefer to show you and reminds you that it isn't the gun-toting, crack filled hole that rappers like to present. I wasn't banking on “Bad Girls” being a good track but it is – very strong. The Billie Holliday approach is most excellent and the band rise to the occasion. Moments like these allow Ariana's influences to shine through. You will, I am sure, love the smooth “Secret Island”...pure heaven and has Mr. Powell written all over it! You cannot beat real instruments! Let's check out “Haze Of Love” for more inspiration and simply soak up the sax and bass line. Lovely stuff. My final choice is the excellent “Touch Me” which fuses smoky, jazzy vocals with sultry soulful keys with an 80s foundation. A very nice mix indeed. Do not overlook.

Barry Towler

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