Thursday, 3 December 2009

Zo - Just Visting Too - 2009 - Chapter 3hree, Verse 5ive music

Zo!, from Detroit, has been making music since 2001, and the latest CD is a collection of very worthwhile and fresh cover versions of tunes that we all know and love from the '70s and '80s. With a vast array of experience, Zo! has crafted this collection perfectly for today's market - one that is sadly overrun with cover sets - and one that demande some originality and uniqueness. Harnessing the talents of good, soulful and altogether wholesome folks such as rapper, Phonté, Sy Smith, Yahzarah, Darien Brockington and Carlitta Durrand this 7 tracker really will be one that you will want to take the time in investing your very hard earned pennies and listening time. I am always wary of artists covering my favourite tunes - especially those written by Leon Ware and performed by Minnie Riperton!!! However, as usual my initial angst went unfounded and thee version of "Perfect Angel" is seductive, new and fresh yet true to the spirit of the original. Yahzarah cannot, of course, meter out such a performance as the late, great Minnie but her vocals are, as we all know, deliciously sexy and perfect for this smooth, warm and audibly exquisite reading for 2009.

A racier and meatier "Nights Over Egypt" doesn't work so well, I fear, but is by no means a poor or bad track. The beats are very much more definite than the original Dexter Wansel composition. Sy Smith's "Crazy You" is gorgeous...a track that would be perfect for that summer barbecue. I could imagine this slipping in nicely on the 2005 release 'Soul of Brazil'. If you don't know that album then please check it out!!! An instrumental version of Don Blackmon's timeless "Holding You, Loving You" is handles with much respect and the atmosphere created by Zo! is respectful and true homage is paid to this track. And why not. It is, after all, a classic, and the working in of early 80s styled fender rhodes keys is very heartwarming indeed. Rapper, Phonté - in my opinion one of the very few exponents of the style worth paying anttention to today - adds his soulful vocal touch to the timeless Bobby Caldwell tune, "My Flame". Again, fans of both his work with Jazzanova and Liquid Spirits will appreciate this. Yahzahra's "Something Special" is BRILLIANT. This has a superb mixture of Norman Connors and Impromp2 and is worth shelling out cash for for this track alone, let alone all the others. The wonderful talent who is Darien Brockington does a grand job on reworking the Isley's classic "The Highways Of My Life (Pt I and II)". It is haunting and addictive, real effort taken to run parallel with Ron Isley's beautiful styling. This is a great release and definitely one for your Christmas stocking!

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe