Deodato is a legend...his own work, his Latin pieces and his Funk offering with the likes of Kleeer in the 80s are sublime. I was overjoyed to see this, his new album, and what a corker it is. Full of blinding midtempo numbers with plenty of real rhythm and beautifully warm keyboards. Listening to this is, I'm sure, melting the 6-odd-inches of snow that I can see from my window! With this album, Deodato draws upon a wealth of vocal talent to bring his already vibrant songs and melodies to extraordinary life. It's thanks to this man that we have the best vocal work from Al Jarreau this side of his "All I Got" album in 2002. Al Jarreau gives us a top-draw performance on no less than three songs, "Double Face" both as an ordinary mix and a radio mix, and with the talented group Novecento and their lovely vocalist Dora Nicolosi on the gorgeously sexy "I Want You More". The famous scat is prominent on the aforementioned effort that almost spans 6 minutes. Surely this is the best midtempo Mr. Al Jarreau has given for years! Al is vocally strong as ever, undeminished and still very much in command of a song as he was 35 years ago. An international treasure, we surely have the man at his 21st Century best here.
An odd inclusion to proceedings is, perhaps, Londonbeat who gave us a few chart toppers in the late 1980s here in the UK, but here they are on this awesome funky groove and they sound FANTASTIC! Deep, powerful, distinctive and captivating are the only words to describe Jimmy Helms' vocals. Nice to hear this guy's great vocals again. Definitely on this type of material too. We only have to skip forward two songs to "No Getting Over You" and we are treated to Londonbeat again. This time we have a more summery, dreamy track and one that suits Jimmy's vocals perfectly. Guitarist John Tropea adds his ample skills to the Latin flavoured "Night Passage", and with an electric guitar performance akin to Santana or Carlos Rios, this effort is very much in an essential vein. He also provides his licks to the equally impressive instrumental "Summertime", and this time supported by a superb string section and warm 70s keys that take us right back to the days of Eddie Russ and Lonnie Liston Smith...this is a winter blues buster!
Continuing in a Jazzy and funky vein is the superb "Rule My World" which features the sublime Novocento and their delicious vocalist Dora Niciolosi pitted against Billy Cobham's experb drumming. Billy Cobham is a legend and so is Eumir Deodato...two legends and a sexy young talent such as Dora and her amazingly talented band members is simply out of the box! Legends aplenty here with Brazillian percussionist Airto Moreira on board with "Border Line", and proceedings really do get hot on here. I particularly like the sexual, rhythmic bassline, the eerie synth and warm 70s keys...sheer brilliance :) Closing the set is an edit of Al Jarreau's wonderful opening effort, and although this is but a 9 track set EVERY track is a winner...I did not expect the set to be as strong as it was, and on that basis I think that it would be a great idea to scribble down this title on your Christmas list and lob the letter up the chimney to Father Christmas ASAP...this would definitely be better than an old Satsuma in the jolly old stocking! Three cheers to Santa Tee and all soulful little helpers at Expansion!!!
the Vibe scribe