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Soul Express CD of the Month - July 2010

Various Artists: United We Cure

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United We Cure

US PRVCY Premium CD, 2010
1) Lalah Hathaway & Rashaan Patterson: The Cure
2) Paul Taylor: Believe In
3) Hil st. Soul: Silver Lining
4) Brian Culbertson: Lifeline
5) Eric Darius: Jean Marie's Groove
6) Kindred the Family Soul: Everything I Need
7) Mindi Abair: Be Beautiful
8) Norman Brown: Walk on Water
9) Will Downing: Fly Higher
10) Euge Groove: City of Hope
11) Leigh Jones: Like a Diamond
12) Gail Jhonson: Lives Inspired
13) Wayman Tisdale: Tulsa Chillin'

United We Cure is a charity album aiming to collect funds for the battle against breast cancer. But you only have to look at the artist list to realise why such a charity album is about the hottest thing we have in quality soul/jazz music at the moment. Rex Rideout has produced the whole album.

The album starts with a couple of tracks that try to attract R&B generation, though. Both Lalah Hathaway and Rashaan Patterson are one of the best soul singers of this millennium, but for some reason Rex Rideout has chosen to set the twosome into a trendy programmed R&B backdrop. The following cut Believe It by sax player Paul Taylor opens in an equally dismal R&B tone, but turns into a passable David Sanborn-ish midtempo jam.

Hil St. Soul already has a chance to sing in a more relaxed atmosphere on Silver Lining, and Brian Culbertson's Life Line follows in the manner of his own albums. Nice to hear some real horn section over Brian's vibrant piano soloing, too. Eric Darius is another smooth jazz player, blowing serene tenor sax on Jean Marie's Groove.

My personal favorite on the album is the Kindred the Family Soul contribution Everything I Need, which has a wonderful organic neo-soul feel and especially Fatin Dantzler is in terrific vocal form, tearing down the soulful melody written by the husband-and-wife duo together with Rideout. Kindred has recorded some of the best soul songs in last ten years, and this tune definitely belongs to the duo's finest recordings. This is a track that cannot be easily passed while choosing the best soul tracks of this year.

Another real gem on the album is the Will Downing track Fly Higher, which is a 100 % proof that Will Downing is back in business, and his recent illness simply does not have any effect on his music any more. This is the kind of classy-in-the-extreme jazzy soul that I'd love Will to record also in the future; Gary Taylor, Will himself and Rex have written the stylish tune, and the background features real drums by Michael White, Red Rideout on keyboards and Michael Ripoli providing the classy guitar lines.

I really enjoyed some of the tracks on Leigh Jones debut album Music in My Soul, and she certainly deserves a chance to show off her talents on this collection as well, although Like a Diamond does not match the prime cuts on her own set.

The tracks by Mindi Abair, Gail Jhonson and Wayman Tisdale represent a more typcial smooth jazz sound of today, but Norman Brown's Wait on Water has a bit more elegance, and Euge Groove demonstrates on City of Hope that his music still has more groove than most of his competitors' performances.
- Ismo Tenkanen
Soul Express

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