Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Avery Sunshine - Avery Sunshine - 2010

This Philadelphia native has trodden a long path previous to this album release, and it's not without some pride that she can proffer us this mighty good album for your due consideration. Having added her vocal skills to several big stage and screen productions Avery not gives you the full Monty with this superb contemporary adult R'n'B effort. Twelve track, plus one hidden nugget on offer here and nothing that will really disappoint. It's a strong first full album effort and the more I have played this the more I have got into her voice and her vibe. Essentially what we have here is a very positive lady, compassionate and not bowing to contemporary diktats over style over substance. So, a singer with something to say! "All In My Head" opens up the album on a truly magnificent note. A strong vocalist with what could almost be called a contemporary Stevie Wonder type of groove, this song deftly deals with self-illusion or delusion and the hassles that can come from this. A cautionary tale with a great musical backing. Stylish and totally what you would expect on the best and classiest radio shows on black radio.

The jazzy, soulful vibe continues unabated with the Jimetta Rose / N'Dambi styled "Today". I particularly welcome the laid-back summertime feel. For me, this song renders the album essential. The lyrics, too are great and identifiable. Who can fail to listen to this and not associate with it. This poor girl is having a crabby old day and yet instead of being defeatist is quite instructive. Again, a singer with something positive to say. "The Most..." is superb. the strings, acoustic guitar and slight Isley feel is truly delicious. See? Three tracks in and we're certainly in the presence of someone special indeed. Oh! That isn't all. Not by a long chalk. The vocal arrangements on "Ugly Part Of Me" are sublime...imagine, if you will, Billy Holliday overseen by Roy Ayers and supported by a mid 1970s Isley Brothers. I melt at this kind of material...sax and muted trumpet add to the mystique no end. SUPERB, SUPERB, SUPERB.

If the recent Danny Boy set impressed you as it did me, then the flavour of "Need You Now" will remind you of the most winsome tracks on there. catchy songs are making a comeback! "Pinin'" is one of these gems, and the summery vibe is one to definitely savour. Great trumpet work here and certainly more aimed at the connoisseur than the whippersnapper! The yesternow sound of the 60s, complete with Bob Babbitt styled bassline returns with a vengeance on the equally snappy "I Got Sunshine" and the brilliant "Blessin' Me" is simply going to knock you dead. Like the recent collaboration between Nicki Richards and Tower Of Power, this is not as much funky as downright summery and soulful. Having made the Roy Ayers connection earlier on first listen i was totally chuffed to hear the Great man appear personally on vocals and vibes on the short but sweet "Everybody Loves"...yes! This is what we want! The gentle bossa of "Like This" owes a lot to the recent style of Michael Franks and is very pleasant on the ear. Trust me, this is an album that you should not, and must not be without. What an amazing musical and vocal talent! MANDATORY!

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe