Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Robin Duhe - Life - 2010

Robin's first album in 6 years, and one that is equally as essential as the previousset (review to come) it has been something of a long journey for Robin between these two releases, and reading the booklet it's totally understandable why we have not heard much from this great, great bassist. The album is dedicated to everyone who has been affected by cancer. Robin had been diagnosed with cancer, was hospitalised and, thank God, recovered. This dedication certainly warms my heart as my family has had this terrible thing visited upon it, and my father is currently fighting this, and having very nearly lost him once one can pick up a lot more from this album...it has real emotion and sentiments such as hope, positivity as well as recognising the beauty and true meanings in life that it serves as more than a mere CD release. It's moral support. It's guidance and it's damn good to boot!

We all love this man's work, one way or another. His sterling work with Frankie Beverly and Maze is unrivalled, his solo work of an equally high standard..."Life" is a solid outing of soulful vocals, warm, jazzy instrumentals and plenty of funky basslines. Fans of Maze will really dig this set. Possibly more so than his last album. "Happy Feelin's" is revisited here...oh, that Bay area sound is just so delicious...I miss it so, so much. If only we were treated to a NEW Maze album...is it asking too much? 'Til then we have such gems as "Life (Gets In The Way)" which features that warm bay area sound, underpinned by the synth...Tony Lindsay is the brilliant, brilliant vocalist on here and with backing vocalists from Larry Baptiste and...Claytoven! This is a superb song and it's message is so, so positive yet very down to earth and real. This from a man who has experienced life getting in the way. Very much so.

For lovers of vocal tunes, the brilliant Derick Hughes appears on the gem "Where Are You". Again, the Maze sound is strong in a jazzy sort of fashion! He also graces the uptempo "Say It" with some great guitar work very much in the vein of Marcus Miller! I spoke of beauty earlier didn't I? To me there is nothing more precious, beautiful or awesome that a spectacular sunset, and the gorgeous instrumental, "Sunset" captures that feeling perfectly...the Marcus Miller-style warbling bass, and soulful, haunting synth work perfectly in tandem. "He Will See You Through" features Robin Duhe on a spoken word..he narrates a story of a successful man who loses all that he holds to be dear...and then loses this to discover how rich he actually was without the material trappings. I trust this to be very personal a tale...but if so, one can listen to this CD and realise what great power, strength and inner peace he has drawn from his experiences. I am so pleased - seriously - that Robin got his health back. It's success stories like this, and positive works such as this that should give strength and encouragement to all who hear it. A beautiful, well-crafted and essential album. Welcome back, Robin.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe