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Universal Communication
  Universal Communication  
  Recommended if you like:
- Jamiroquai
- Methodology
- Stevie Wonder
- Brotha.Depp
- Harambé
The Greg Mayo Band 'Universal Communication' [Roll With Mayo]

All songs on this 12-track CD are produced and written by Greg Mayo with the exception of Tracks 2 & 6 (co-written with Erik White) and Track 9 co-written by Chris Anderson. Following on from reviewing The Greg Mayo And The Groove’s EP in 2006, I was eager to hear their debut, full length CD with the group now known under their new name of “The Greg Mayo Band.” Title track “Universal Communication,” a short instrumental, gently glides you in to the album continuing with the second song “Love And Evolution,” with love lasting a lifetime. After a lovely change in tempo we hear third track “Love The Way,” with its tiny helping of Hip-Hop lyrics courtesy of Erik White, tastefully done and a welcome addition to the album. “Take Me Back” (to when I loved you) is next, then on to the mellow starting, mind-opening track “Still Going On” with trumpet solo and soulful lyrics. Fast tempo and funky “Get Down” sets the feet moving in this up-tempo dance track. On to “Another Kind” speaking of a love one has never felt before (universal communication), a love nobody understands then track 8 “Leave It Alone.” Slowly, we move on to the bluesy groove “Waiting For You” where you can hear Greg’s fine vocals. “Follow” is next with the lyrics “I’m gunna walk on water ‘till I learn to fly away” and on to “I Don’t Know” which appears to fade, then re-emerges to wind us (and the CD) down with the wonderfully slow and heartfelt final song “Now I Know Better.” The Greg Mayo band consists of Greg Mayo on keys and vocals, Erik White on guitar and vocals, Chris Anderson on bass and vocals, Kenny Shaw on drums, Matt Abatelli on tenor sax, John Liotta on alto and bari sax and Kenny Warren on trumpet. I’m sure we will be hearing much more from these high level and skilled, well-trained vocalists and musicians. The CD has solo moments from the instrumentalists and good lyrics. Greg Mayo may have lost the Groove from their name, but not from their music, they are rhythmically together in a funky, jazzy and soulful blend. The Greg Mayo Band, in their recording infancy is sounding good; with more variety and a smidgen of raw and gutsy passion, I feel they can do even better. I wish Greg and his band huge success with their funky debut CD. Well recommended.

Tracey Cope [Just Soul]

Live At Yoshi's
  Live At Yoshi's: A Salute To Lou  
  Recommended if you like:
- Jon Lucien
- Lou Rawls
- Nat King Cole
- Omar
Nicolas Bearde 'Live At Yoshi's: A Salute To Lou' [Nicolas Bearde]

There is a fine distinct line between doing a cover album and doing a tribute album. Aside from the main obvious difference being that a tribute album is dedicated to a particular subject as opposed to just redoing songs, a tribute album also illustrates the respect, honour and passion that an artist has for the subject on which they are attributing. Jazz/Soul singer Nicolas Bearde comes forth with his current album "Live at Yoshi's: A Salute to Lou" a live recording of an outstanding performance he did at the Yoshi's Jazz House in Oakland California in October 2007, where he pays tribute to the late Lou Rawls.
Nicolas Bearde no doubt does an excellent job singing classic Lou Rawls songs as well as other songs and his jazzy, soulful voice alone sets the tone and warm atmosphere for both his CD listeners and audience listeners alike who had the opportunity to see him perform at the Yoshi's Jazz bar. Nicolas begins his performance with tracks such as "Living Room," "The Girl From Panema" and "Lady Love." For those who have not seen Nicolas Bearde perform or might be curious as to how he performs live, this album by far illustrates his excellent performance. His sense of humour also provides a way to break the fourth wall with his audience both at the Yoshi Jazz House and his CD listeners. Nicolas Bearde continues his heart filled tribute with songs such as Billie Holiday's "God Bless The Child" and other Lou Rawls' songs such as "The Shadow Of Your Smile" and "I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water." Nicolas Bearde winds down his performance with a ‘Lou medley’ where he sings a number of Lou's famous songs including "You're Gonna Be Missing My Loving."
Like his previous albums Nicolas Bearde does not fail to show any form of perfection in his performance and delivers each song with as much soul and love that he can. His band which consist of Charles McNeal (saxophone), Jason Lewis (drums) Glenn Pearson (piano) and Nelson Braxton (bass) together provide a harmonic jazz ensemble that complements Nicolas Bearde’s voice. Hearing the audience's feedback alone is one example of this as they sing along and hoot when Nicolas Bearde performs a familiar song (particularly Lou Rawls' famous "You're Gonna Be Missing My Loving.”) His tribute to Lou Rawls is not just a personal tribute to a wonderful artist but also a reminder to listeners of what good soul and jazz music was and still is.

Dwight Barrett [Just Soul]

Prelude To Melodic...
  Prelude To Melodic Queendom  
  Recommended if you like:
- Nhojj
- Tina Turner
- Jill Scott
- Macy Gray
QueenZy Luv 'Prelude To Melodic Queendom' [BMI]

Melodic Queendom Entertainment Inc. (BMI) bring you a CD from QueenZy Luv, with proceeds from each CD purchased being donated to non-profit organizations that provide services for sexual molestation and sexual abuse, with all music and lyrics by QueenZy Luv. My 3 star review is a reflection of an album of 13 songs, but in essence is an album of 3 tracks of radio mixes flipping to the same 3 songs with raw/euphoric mixes and 7 snippets of tracks to come. If this were an album of full songs, the review would definitely have earned more stars. However, this is an introductory CD to the beautiful stripped down and natural music of QueenZy Luv which I wanted to review, as what you are actually hearing is a powerful voice, music worthy of appreciation and a promise of what is to follow from an artist who is certainly one to look out for (and to be introduced to). “I’m Leaving U For Me” (Radio Mix) starts the album – a smooth, funky, laid back groove with tasteful instruments. “Prey To Demons” (Radio Mix) with guitar by Mark Moss Aka White Chocolate Butter Man is a good second track with a rockier Tina Turner feel continuing on to the sexy and erotic third track “We Living Foul” (Radio Mix) seeing QueenZy Luv enjoying the time she shares with her partner, then on to “I’m Leaving U For Me” (Raw Mix), “Prey To Demons” (Euphoric Mix) and “We Living Foul” (Raw Mix). If like me, you are a fan of stripped down music to it’s raw essence, you will love the contrast of these tracks compared to the radio mixes. The CD ends with 7 samples, concluding with the track “Thank You,” which will make you look forward to hearing in their entirety all the songs previewed and eager for more to quench your insatiable musical appetite. QueenZy Luv has captivating, classy, rich vocals with a soulful pitch to savour and is most enjoyable to listen to.

Tracey Cope [Just Soul]

A Change Is Gonna Come
  A Change Is Gonna Come  
  Recommended if you like:
- Roachford
- Donny Hathaway
- Billy Ocean
Wilberforce 200 'A Change Is Gonna Come' [Virtual Music Enterprises]

Slavery may have past but its legacy still haunts the earth to this day. William Wilberforce started a campaign in the UK to abolish the slave trade, and in 1807 Wilberforce and the Abolition Committee were able to get an agreement from Parliament to abolish the slave trade in the form of The Slave Trade Act 1807. Whilst this act did not end the slave trade, it did stop British ships carrying people to be sold as slaves. Unfortunately slavery never fully disappeared, and indeed in the 21st century there is said to be over 27 million people still in slavery around the world. Wilberforce 200 is a form of recognition of the work Wilberforce did to get the act passed 200 years earlier.
Arranged and produced by the talented Wayne Brown, the album brings together old and new artists covering songs of hope and showcasing new songs of optimism. The album starts with Chained by international singer Billy Ocean. The up-tempo track with a little latin flavour tells the listener that it was not that long again when he was chained and bound in a system that produced nothing but heartache for many. The bold song is a nice opener for this 14 track album. Other artists on this album include UK R’n’B royalty Don-E and Junior, soul stars Roachford and Ruby Turner, and as well internationally stars like Janet Kay; each covering songs of yesteryear that have helped motivate and inspire others. Check out Roachford’s spirited version of Someday We’ll All Be Free, his soulful voice and new beats brings Donny Hathway’s classic in 21st century and gives vision for us that better days are just ahead of us. Similarly Don-E’s Someday Somehow turns in a radio and club friendly smash hit.
Not one to forget up and coming talent Wayne Brown also features some of the hottest emerging singer/songwriters. Kenyan born Jag’s song Thankful which was co-written with Wayne Brown is a moving tribute to how thankful he is for what life throws at him considering the hardships that his forefathers went through. He tries to imagine it and simply can’t so instead celebrates his freedom. David Mensah’s Food of Love is a breath of fresh air and serves as the mid point of the album. Reminiscing on the traditions handed down to him over the years, and how they have fed and nurtured him, this gentle jazzy number is one of the stand tracks on the album.
Other stars and songs I recommend are VJB Featuring Sumudu, who has the sweetest vocal sound over a Stevie Wonder classic, which has been given a Brazilian makeover. The rootsy and soulful sounds of Malina Moye on Hustler’s Blues, the reggae touch of Janet Kay on Bob Marley’s Who The Cap Fits, and the spiritually uplifting sounds of Voices with Soul who cover I Wish I knew how It Would Feel To Be Free.
Overall this is not a bad collection of artists and songs. There are some artists that “fail to deliver the goods” in that they have been ambitious in the songs they chose to cover or that there was something missing in the finished production of certain songs. However that aside Wayne Brown has produced a collection of songs to mark an important point in history. For that alone Ricardito salutes you.

Richar "Ricardito" Ashie [Just Soul]

Well Dressed 4 Art Show
  Well Dressed For The Art Show  
  Recommended if you like:
- Musiq
- Prince
- Kanye West
Peter Hadar 'Well Dressed For The Art Show' [Hadar]

“I’m just too fresh” are the words from first song on Peter Hadar’s sophomore album. This musical journey takes us from tight beats through to electronic synthesisers to some soul beats. This is not your typical soul album, but in an age where artists are trying to not simply be pigeon holed Peter Hadar’s sound should find a market. For lovers of live instrumentation and soaring vocals this is not album to choose. “You don’t need a space suit your skin is so daring” is a line from Hadar’s track planet, which reminds me of the old Marvin Gaye track A Funky Space Reincarnation. Peter is celebrating the sexy woman on this album, and on the track Cheat On You he explains how he is torn between two women, and asks permission if he can cheat. That track and another like Ocean Wet may make this album not child friendly, but often the beats and eletcronica distract you from what Peter is actually singing. I actually like his voice, which on tracks like Laugh Together, Sleeping Pills, and Painted sound quite soulful.
Peter was raised on music his father being a gospel music, however he fell into fashion and styling. That said the music gene is showing, and this sophomore shows a lot of promise. My only fear is that in a short time this album may sound dated, and not as crisp and of the time it is now. Black Eyed Peas sounds may sound ok now, but in 10 years time who will be listening songs that sound like My Humps?
Overall not a bad album and it’s less that 45 minutes long. Stand out tracks are Cheat On You, Too Fresh, Painted, Laugh Together, Staple Me and Sleeping Pills. When the electronics are reined in ever so slightly Hadar really comes to life.

Richard "Ricardito" Ashie [Just Soul]

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