Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Matt Cusson - Matt Cusson - 2008 - Cuesound Records

Matt Cusson is an artist that immediately won me over with his sublime, unique blend of warm soul with plenty of jazz thrown in for good measure. The album is NOT what I expected, in that it would be a street-orientated set. It's true to say that it's thoughtful, reflective and his vocal styling and phrasing reminds me of a more gentle and laid back Tim Miner. Matt is no soulful growler, and his slight, quavery voice almost impresses the soothing tones of Jermaine Jackson in places. Add all this together and what this gives me is a really solid set of strong melodies and intelligent, adult lyrics. Matt knows how to craft a melody, let's get this straight. He understands what makes a track start and finish and pretty much is in control of all that takes place in-between. He also gives me extra warmth in listening with his use of haunting backing harmonies which would even make the likes of Claude McKnight and Take 6 sit up and take notice.

This CD is one for relaxing and listening to. The soulful, swishing opening song is gentle, playing on the jazzy piano and beautifully smooth vocal chops that Matt has. This is a truly delicious song and one which I have gained a lot of pleasure from. Brian McKnight would appreciate this kind of groove, and when the trombone falls into the mix, it is pure JOY. Jazzier still is the deeply emotional and tender "comfortable". This is very introspective - if a song can be - and the melancholy is not lost on me; the lush piano wafts dreamily by and it's when the haunting backing harmonies come in that the song goes from the atmosphere into outer space. Tracks like this really are in a class of their own. The album benefits, too, from the vocal talents of both Shoshana Bean and Javier. You will recall Shoshana Bean and her brilliant "Never Alone" from 2004, and her duet on "Could" is really tasty. Again, Tim Miner's work with Brian McKnight on Motown springs to mind. Quality stuff. Jervier appears on the SUPERB "Same Old Song", which features a wonderful blend of piano, acoustic guitar and a soulful backing rhythm. One track that really did reach out and grab me by the lug'oles was "Heaven". THIS IS WHAT WE WANT!!!!! Soulful, jazzy and totally classy. Sheer brilliance. As far as I am concerned, this is a classy, classy CD. It's a sublime oasis amongst a sea of urban noise and I cannot commend it to you enough. SUPERB.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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