Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Marc Vanclaggett - Jazz At Sunset - 2010 - Marlex

No-one reading this will need an introduction to Marc Vanclaggett. He won massive critical acclaim back in 2003 with his debut set for Marlex records, "I Want You", and his set featured one of THE songs of that whole year. many a year has since passed and having searched for the great man again, have discovered that dear old CD Baby have his NEW CD as well as a single, "Baby I'm The One" in stock! The album, "Jazz At Sunset", is a seriously soulful, funky jazz affair and highlights yet another string to this gentleman's envious musical bow. It's not a boring Smooth Jazz outing by any stretch, though even fans of this genre will find a lot to warm to here. This reminds me of what jazz-fusion albums were like before the Smooth Jazz explosion, and elements of Najee etc can be heard here. The seductive soulful opener "Jazz At Sunset" contains some lovely warm keys, synths, summery flute and Najee-type sax. Mellow it may be, Smooth it ain't! The excellent and gritty "Ramsey" must, I am certain pay homage to one of the greatest pianists in the field, Ramsey Lewis, and in turn one certain late, great Charles Stepney.

A great number, and fortified by the following track, "Rebecca", with a sexy tropical feel and chilled out piano touches. The funky, strident "Raven" adds real light and shade and is meaty enough to tremble the old bass-pins, and short though it is matches the chunky belter "The Doctor" nicely. What or which Doctor is this about? Not Matt Smith's latest travelling bow-tie adorned Time Lord, surely?! What really absorbed my attention is the deep, resonant bass on "Wilshire Blvd"...the bass, dreamy keys and rasping flute...a great little number and then some! The set ends nicely with a short but sweet reprise of the title song and rounds this up very nicely. Though there are no full vocals, it's still a must and I have to say that i didn't expect a Jazz set from this man. What we do also have is the single, "Baby I'm The One", which is a traditional vocal ballad with a spoken intro and definitely sits in a late 80s / early 90s soul groove. Vocally the man is on top form and this jam is definitely harking back to a better time for quality R&B music. Head over to CD Baby and check it out!

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe