Tuesday, 25 May 2010

TBD - TBD - 2010 - Mac Man Music

Dazz Band member and all-round nice chap Marlon McClain certainly cannot be accused of sitting on his laurels at the moment with a number of exciting music releases under his belt. To his credit he has pursued the great truth of quality rather than quality and I think that what he has committed here to CD is real quality. An album of seriously funky tunes - instrumental in nature - that draws together the funky legacy of the Dazz band, his strong production credentials since the 1980s as well as a healthy display of freestyle jazz and blues riffs courtesy of his guitar licks. To be honest I cannot fault this CD on a musical level BUT - and it is a big but - I personally think it suffers due to a lack of vocals. This, as I cannot stress enough is purely stated from my own personal viewpoint. It by sure ain't gospel - check it out for yourself. Personally I get bored of a string of instrumentals and sit eagerly awaiting a vocal to come in. However, my gripes aside, if you like the later material of both Roy Ayers or Norman Brown then you are going to love this CD.

The opening cut relies on George Clinton's smokey vocals lifted from the Dazz Band's "Ain't Nothin' But A Jam Y'all" - a great track! - and the flavour is ratcheted up a few notches in the funk'n'jazz departments. The following cut is BRILLIANT, and a track that would not be out of place on a Norman Brown set featuring Roy Ayers! "Come On" is uplifting, summery and oh-so bouncy - perfect as I sit here lapping up the hot summer-styled sunshine! "Dreaming Of You" is gorgeous. I really would love to hear at least a semi-vocal on here - you know, a wistful sexy female refraining away wouldn't go amiss BUT it is still a grand track and one that Marlon should be proud of. Philip Martin's lilting sax is right out of the Everette Harp field and the summery vibe is pitched right, making this track provide some light and shade.

Sax man Patrick Lamb is an old fave hear at Soulchoonz and his mighty powers blow in on the wistful "Sorry To Say", this following to fine rootsy and 60s flavoured cuts too! Someone who I can pick out immediately from any composition that he may be involved with is Jeff Lorber. Of course, Jeff and Marlon have collaborated before and this track will rouse your interests if you loved 2004's excellent "Shades Of Soul" album. Jeff has a signature style that is carefree and buoyant and totally whimsical yet soulful, deep and full of expression. Unique, instantly recognisable but NEVER predictable, he draws all this together into those magic fingers of his on "Life Is". Superb, and right where he was back on Arista in the late 70s and early 80s! Although I dearly wish for vocals, what I cannot say about this CD is that it is boring. By no means is this a Smooth Jazz set. This has guts, spine, pizazz, a grittiness and earthy flavours and will not send you to sleep within moments of the opening cut! This comes highly recommended and a great piece of instrumental work has been created by all involved. Available to buy from June 1st!

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe