Friday, 10 September 2010

AgapéSoul - Agapé Soul - 2010 - Agapé Soul

AgapéSoul is the brainchild of Darryl Anders, and what he has conceived here is a wonderful blend of real soul dashed with jazz, and easily one of the best releases out of the US at this current time. AgapéSoul have issued this stunning limited edition pre-release and I for one cannot recommend it highly enough. Recall, if you will, the classy efforts of Nathan Heathman back in 2000, as well as the musical strengths of pre-smooth jazz music. This limited release is completely consistent, powerful and totally essential. Although only 4 tracks complete this set, each one is without fault. Track one, then is the slinky, sax drenched "Don't Say U Love Me"...if female vocalists in the vein of Brenda Hilman, Ada Dyer (Miss Adriatha) or Helen Baylor are to your taste then the superb vocalist Zoe Ellis is one that you really need to pay attention to. She has that edge and stands shoulder to shoulder with all these esteemed ladies. Darryl Anders himself adds bass and background vocals, Lynette Williams on keys, aaron Green on drums, Errol Cooney on guitars, Indra Jones on backing vocals and Vince Lars on sax. Together that create a cracking slice of modern soulful jazz.

"Time Cannot Erase" features Darryl Anders on vocals, and the flavour here reminds me of a Norman Connors effort, even George Duke. Vocally, Darryl is not in the league of the likes of Al Johnson, Beau Williams or Glenn Jones, but has the timbre of, say Raymond Jones. Gentle, slightly gritty and enchanting nonetheless. This is a great number and Vince Lars sax is really special. "Tell Me Where It Hurts" is well supported by great bass playing, and the dreamy 80s keys supplement Indra Jones' vocals very nicely. Fresh, supple and sexy, Indra Jones' vocals help make this track a sorely needed oasis in today's desert of auto-tuned, rap-filled nonsense. So much so she adds more of her delicacies onto us with the brilliant, socially conscious "Voice Of Reason". I cannot rate these songs highly enough, and only wished that we had more material coming out of the US of this quality. The recording quality is superb, the level of musicianship is first rate and on this basis I am extremely expectant of what the full album release may hold. An exciting release without doubt.

Barry Towler

The Vibe Scribe