Thursday, November 25, 2010


Sweet sweet work from Deodato – a great little set that almost makes us think it's the 70s all over again! Deodato's working in that great blend of jazz and soul he first set down during his CTI years – then took to new heights on MCA and Warner too – a wonderfully warm blend that's filled with plenty of jazz at the core, but which also features key soulful touches from guests who include Al Jarreau, John Tropea, Novecento, and Londonbeat! Most numbers feature vocals, but there's plenty of space for Deodato's keyboards too – which have that round sound and deep feel we really remember from the Fender Rhodes generation. Titles include "Night Passage", "The Crossing", "Double Face", "I Want You More", "Border Line", and "Rule My World".

Contemporary soul veteran Freddie Jackson returns with a batch of original material! For You mixes slow cooking, nicely grooving and lightly polished soul that's right in his Freddie's comfort zone, and numbers with a bit more of a late 00s production aesthetic – but you don't need to worry, it's a tried-and-true Freddie Jackson set all the way, and a good one! Titles include "I Don't Wanna Go", "A Dozen Roses", "Say Yeah", "Rumors", "Slow Dance", "What's On Your Mind". "Any Way You Want It" and more.

Rena Scott's probably best-remembered for her soul albums of the late 70s and 1980s – but she's back in action, and sounding as great as ever with this sweet new CD! The set's got a cool, modern style – one that's more of a conventional R&B update of Rena's older groove, instead of an attempt to go for a Neo Soul mode – a choice we really appreciate, as Scott keeps things real – and definitely goes for an old school groove throughout! A few cuts are older soul classics, handled in nice new versions by Rena – with breathy vocals that slide sexily through the arrangements – and titles include "Joy & Pain", "Don't Ask My Neighbors", "Each Day Is Better", "You Keep Me Trippin", "Dr Feelgood", "Don't Wanna Wait", and "Something I Wanna Say."

A deeply soulful set from pianist Benito Gonzalez – a Venezuelan player you may not know by name, but who's working here with a hip host of American all-stars – including Azar Lawrence and Ron Blake on tenor saxes, Myron Walden on alto and soprano, Christian McBride on bass, and Jeff Tain Watts on drums! The music is great right from the get-go – spiraling out with the searching force of some of McCoy Tyner's best 70s material – a perfect platform for the reedwork in the set, although the album also draws strongly from Benito's bold command of the piano, too – a perfect combination that keeps things electrifying throughout. Titles include "Circles", "Taurus", "The Movements", "Journey's End", and "Faces".

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