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Brown
  Brown  
  Recommended if you like:
- Maxwell
- Eric Roberson
- Erykah Badu
 
Review
Ivana Santilli 'Brown' [Brown Recordings]
 

Ivana Santilli is no stranger in the Toronto R&B soul scene. In 1994 she was part of a well-known Toronto soul group Bass is Base consisting her and two other members whose debut album ‘First Impressions for the Bottom Jigglers’ was nominated for a Juno Award for R&B Soul. After disbanding, Ivana Santilli continued her musical path with her 1999 debut solo album ‘Brown’. This album truly showcases Ivana Santilli’s talents. Besides her vocals, she also plays a majority of the instruments on this album including rhodes, piano and trumpets (which you can hear nostalgically on ‘Too Deep’). ‘Brown’ begins with a brief intro of Ivana playing on the rhodes (ironically titled “Oh the Rhodes again.”) Ivana then opens her book to her listeners of her thoughts, passions, questions and desires that are backed up by smooth soulful beats. In‘Too Deep’ (which was her first single from this album) Ivana ponders to her listeners with questions such as “Have you ever lived your life half asleep? Tell me am I getting too deep?” ‘Never Again’ tells a story of Ivana who puts all her energy into a relationship but does not get anything in return. Ivana then decides to show how much she loves her lover in a duet “If I ever fall” with Glenn Lewis, Ivana even gives her listeners an Italian 101 on her groove song “Nostalgia”. She closes her chapter with “More of myself” with a soothing song as she croons to her listeners “I can say no more, but I can show you less, less of my clothes but so much more myself” ‘Brown’ is a classic example of how good production, a very talented artist, superb backing and good lyrics can lead to a top notch album. The versatility of sounds within this album is huge driving factor. ‘Sun+Moon=Tomorrow’ (the album’s second single release) starts of with a fast drum beat similar to what is heard in the ending of The Roots’ critically acclaimed song “You Got Me”. It is then intertwined with rhodes being played added with a nice driving bass. ‘Too Deep’ provides a Latin/French/Jazz kind of feel with trumpets sounding softly in the background. Ivana even decides to surprise her listeners with a part two version of “If I Ever Fall.” In which, halfway through breaks into a Brazilian drum beat with her on the keyboards and exchanging adlibs and words with Glen Lewis. Another strong factor with Brown is the consistency with her music. Even though she experiments with different styles of beats and grooves (as what is heard in ‘Too Deep’, ‘Sun+Moon=Tomorrow’ and ‘If I ever fall Part Two)’ she still maintains that soulful smooth sound, which unfortunately a few R&B soul artists tend to loose when they start to experiment with different sounds on their albums. You’ll be guaranteed that after listening to this album, you will start to think “Am I really getting too deep?”

Dwight Barrett [Just Soul]

(Extended Play)
  (Extended Play)  
  Recommended if you like:
- Jamiroquai
- George Duke
- Van Morrison
 
Review
Greg Mayo & The Groove 'Extended Play' [Roll With Mayo]
 

This six track EP makes you want to hear more, recorded and produced by Greg Mayo himself. You can tell this is not just a band, but a group of fine musicians who have studied and love their music & want you, the listener, to enjoy it too. If you like Funk with a slither of Jazz and a whole handful of Soulful Rock (with a psychedelic edge), you will love it. Energised musicians who know their music, a classic sound with a fresh twist of youthful spiciness. Feel good, upbeat Rock is fed to you from Greg Mayo & the Groove. From the first track ‘Get It Goin’ – it does just that – gets you going for the rest of the EP. Makes you want to dance and turn up the Funk. James Brown would be proud of these boys. Supposedly likened to the Police – not my scene at all, but I like this band, so if the Police ‘aint your thing, don’t be put off. Greg has a good Jazzy/Rock voice and his lyrics weave easily around you. I especially enjoyed the track ‘Inside Your Mind’ - beautiful. You get the feel Greg is enjoying singing this & his band respond to his call. This is an observational, honest song, which draws you into the lyrics. There’s an inspiring horn section in ‘Maybe’ and the Funky guitar sounds in ‘6 days’, rest well on your pallet, enticing you to taste more. Finishing with ‘The Flow,’ drumming those sweet percussion sounds inside you. This is a wonderfully written EP with fun loving lines, catchy choruses and Soulful/Funky/Rock rhythms, giving you an energy release to revitalise your inner being.

Tracey Cope [Just Soul]

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