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Soul Express Album of the Month

August 2005

BASS X Vol 2: Heir Wave (US Liquid, 2004)

1) Vonnie 2) As It Is 3) All Inside 4) Tonite 5) PR Too! 6) Baby I'm Ready 7) See You Again 8) Rainy Day 9) My Heart 10) Flying Home
Produced by Larry Hubbard

On paper, making a near-perfect jazz-funk record is such an easy thing to do. All you have to do is come up with some inspiring and genuinely soulful compositions, give them a tight yet loose rhythmic treatment and then take the whole thing over the edge with spirited instrumental solos.

Now, what looks so easy on paper is often very hard to do in practice, but every now and then one is lucky to hear an album that actually finds the right formula and makes good use of it.

Bass X's latest project is that kind of record. From the opening bars of the first track you know they are on the right track and that is where they stay for the rest of the album as well.

The guitar-led midtempo groove PR Too! and the uptempo Flying Home, which features a fine sax solo by Paul Merton, would be stand-out tracks on your average jazz-funk album. Here, however, they are overshadowed by even more memorable performances like the bright and breezy uptempo As It Is and two exquisite vocal tracks, the Yvonne Gage-sung, sultry midtempo groove See You Again and the Teresa Griffin -sung sophisticated soul ballad All Inside, which reminds me of something Anita Baker might have done.

And guess what, I haven't even mentioned what for me are the three best tracks on this album, namely the lush and lovely midtempo jazz-funk ballad groove Vonnie, the bright and elegant mid-pacer Rainy Day and the blissful midtempo soul ballad My Heart, which features a vocal duet by Michael White and Dee Alexander.

Wonderful stuff, this is. (9/10)

- Pirkka Kivenheimo

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