latest printed issue
Album of the
Soul Express Album Review
(JAP Victor, 2003/US Compendia, 2004)
Hurry Hurry – Deeper – I’ll Come To You – Keep On – Too Close – Crazy – Fool’s World – Nia – Wonderful Woman – Zoe – People Ask Me
This CD is absolutely blinding! Produced by blue-eyed soulster Joel Kipnis (aka JK),
"Deeper" is smooth like silk; a masterpiece of soulful jazz-fusion sung with a sensuous,
delicate and extremely deliberate Marvin Gaye / Curtis Mayfield style by the master
of smooth tonsils himself, Pete Belasco. Pete whispers around and his soft
falsetto caresses the soft bass and sweet sax in absolute perfect symbiosis.
Lovers of Curtis and Marvin and JK’s "What’s The Word" album from 1998 will know
roughly what to expect. In fact, readers who have been swept away by the recent
Impromp2 and Frank McComb sets will definitely want this in their collections.
This is "smooth jazz" without the schmaltz, offering real instrumentation, the most
smooth and wispish of vocalists, a velvet undercurrent and the result is one of the
most more-ish jazz vocal albums that I can remember in a long time. Quiet Storm a
colytes will adore this album and there are so many standout cuts for me I find it hard
where to begin. Let’s put it this way: within the first 30 seconds of "Hurry Hurry" I
just KNEW I had to have this album.
When I heard this I had not discovered the magnificence of "Deeper", "I’ll Come To You"
and the others. There more I played this song the more I was swept up into the luxurious,
expansive warm world that this CD emanated and I find myself quiet emotional at the
intensity, if one can call it that, of the first track that I was very moved by it.
Call me an old romantic, soft in the head or whatever I just don’t care. But one
thing I know, dear readers, is that when a song and an album can grab me by the
heartstrings and effect such stimuli then I am definitely onto something here.
The very expensive price of new Japanese releases can be off-putting when money is
tight but I do not begrudge a single penny against this album. "Deeper" is like the
most glorious Boney James / Brian Culbertson track you have ever heard but with more
zing! Once Pete begins his magic I am transported to Impromp2 / Marvin land again; the
subtle tickling funky wah-wah guitar and organ work are straight from heaven and the
help of the sexy Robyn Springer (solo artist and JK member), Wincey Terry
and Charrise Davis on backing vocals blows it into the fourth dimension.
Bassist Bashiri Johnson also adds his spice to the flavoursome offering
and he can be heard on a multitude of songs as well as Robert Rodriguez on
the heavenly "Keep On". There are a few intriguing instrumentals such as the sexy
and saxy "Crazy", "Nia" which is also downtempo. "Zoe" is beautiful…the sax overlaying
the vibes are really warm in a Grover Washington moment, but is for my like
way too short.
The final cut, and final instrumental is straight from the 70s and the Hammond organ
and lively sax interplay wonderfully, but at literally JUST over 2 minutes this is
too short. So short, yet so sweet too. I guess too much of a good thing is bad for us,
but as far as I am concerned I want to hear more from the super-talented man and
the wonderful JK and crew. "Deeper" is another inclusion into my top albums of 2003.
- Barry Towler
of the Month in 2003
of the Month in 2002
of the Month in 2001
of the Month in 2000
of the Month in 1999
of the Month in 1998
of the Month in 1997
our home page