Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Christophe De Villa - Jazz And Soulful - 2010

Europe is getting seriously Jazzy again! Proper stuff, too, and in spades. Along with fellow Jazzy artist U-Nam, Paris, France gives us the superb Christophe De Villa. His album is one that you cannot stop playing, is very textured and varied and not for those who are content with going up and down in a lift or pushing around a shopping trolley in a supermarket! There are a few smooth flavours on here, it has to be said but these I can tolerate when mixed up with funky numbers, house music (seriously!) and soulful vocals. Well, being titled "Jazz and Soulful" should give us a hint to the contents of the CD! Christophe plays a mean guitar and approaches this in a fine Wes Montgomery fashion - in fact, a great interpretation of Montgomery's "Jingles" kick-start the album with passion, gusto and aplomb. Another cover version will have you reaching for your curly slippers and fez as we spend a "Night In Tunisia". This old Dizzy Gillespie number is given a great Wes-like reading and is excellent stuff indeed.

For those, like me, who are looking for jazz with soulful vocals please look no further than the most excellent "You Are My Girl" featuring the very soulful Enois Scoggins on vocals! This soulful vocalist reminds me a little of Gavin Christopher meets Pretty Terry and the bubbly groove, upbeat and cheerful wins hands down with some seriously strong guitar chords courtesy of Monsieur De Villa in charge. Following the excellent ""Premiere Classe" is a KILLER Jazz dancer with a funky House beat! "I'll Make You Jazz" is a real barnstormer and fans of Jazz and House (and both together!) will adore this! Featuring
N'dinga, Nathalie André and Jérome Bensoussan as well as a brilliant trumpet solo a la Donald Byrd! In fact, I would say that Christophe is a big fan of proper '70s Jazz-Fusion as the synths deployed throughout the set remind me so much of what the Mizzell Brothers, Roy Ayers or Charles Stepney would have employed. I am not at all unimpressed by that - lovely to hear this today. Smooth-Jazzers take note!

"Tender Love" is another upbeat funky soulful stepper featuring Mary P on vocals as well as those wonderful dreamy, warm warm keys, house beat and mellow guitar licks. Mary P again adds her vocal skills to the excellent "Love Is On Our Side" - those 70s touches mingle well with the break-beat styled rhythm, and sax is courtesy of Gabriel Midon! Even a jazz cover of rapper 50 Cent's "Window Shopper" is given a funky, Jazzy coat of paint and Roy Ayers is given a great tribute with the synthy, spacey synth 70s effort "This Song Is For Roy". A pleasure to listen to, and I'm sure Roy would both be honoured and impressed. With the Housey and very soulful "Searchin' For Love" this wraps up a considerably worthwhile album. I wholeheartedly recommend this album.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe