Album of the
Soul Express Album of the Month - November 2007
Buy this album from our CD Shop
It Is What It Is
US JCS, 2007
1) It Is What It Is 2) Luv 2 Ball 3) Good Thang 4) I Wanna Know 5) Keep Doin' 6) I Wanna Marry U 7) Mojazz 8) You're a Queen 9) Dance with U 10) It's Alright 11) It Was Love
It is really hard to believe that this is the fourth set from Sean E Mac and
Johnny Britt, and as far as quality goes, the gents have come up trumps yet again,
delivering a set as equally strong as their last album. Steve Harvey does not play a part
on this set, but the spirit of his excellence is symbiotic with that of Impromp2 and without
looking at the booklet credits you would think he still had a hand in this.
Proceedings, therefore, are seamless. Impromp2 have, for some, always caused a bit of puzzlement;
a fact played nicely upon in the title song of the album. I hunted for their first CD in a
major store in London back in 1995, only to find it tucked away in the rap section.
As if. Onto the opening salvo, the tongue-in-cheek yet incisor sharp “It Is What It Is”,
opening with a dialogue from a rather less informed radio jock, only to be told by Sean
that they are NOT new, they are respected among their peers, and furthermore make music
we like to hear. Correct on all points, sunshine!
There follows a low-down dirty funky groove with a sexy bassline and Isleys / Chris Jasper
era type keys thrown in for good measure. A salvo of questions hit the chaps from a number of
voices asking whether it be hip hop, soul, pop, R&B, funk, neo-soul etc...the answer according
to the soulful chorus is...it is what it is. This wonderful fusion of soul, jazz and softly
spoken rap suits Impromp2 to the ground. They are not finished there, though. “You're A Queen”
is a splendid track and is receiving a lot of interest of Urban radio stateside. In this offering,
a message is sent to ALL women about not allowing themselves to be portrayed as objects by
the brainless R&B / Rap industry – the videos typifying women as only able to wear next
to nothing or shaking their booty. Oh yes, and let's not forget the endless parade of car
bumpers or basketball courts. As Sean says, he hates to think of his small children g
rowing up seeing that and ascribing to that thinking. The “music industry” is sick and
thank God for the likes of Impromp2 for a dash of sanity and intelligence.
More intelligence is proved in their uptempo reading of Marvin's “You Sure Love To Ball”,
renamed here as “Luv 2 Ball”. This will do some business in the UK. I also really love the
celebratory track, “MoJazz” which is very Take 6 in orientation. The muted trumpet
comes into its own, and a special nod is made to J Spencer who sadly passed away a few years
back. The song hails the famed Jazz label which sadly disappeared in 1997. Such a pity.
“Dance With You” is another uptempo number which is as musically rich as you like.
The instrumentation is, as you would expect, beyond reproach. One of my personal favourites
is “Good Thang” which, in style, is straight from their début set back in 1995.
“Keep Doin'” also hits the mark and best displays their wonderful harmonies. Superb, superb, superb.
If this isn't enough to log onto www.impromp2.com and listen to the gentle and jazzy “It's Alright”
and fresh and fruity “I Wanna Know” with its Stanley Clarke-like guitar – again,
a reflection of their first CD. This album is extremely strong, and certainly sits alongside
the best of the current crop of heavy hitters. Please do NOT ignore this album. It should
be a punishable offence not to own a copy!
- Barry Towler
of the Month in 2008
of the Month in 2007
of the Month in 2006
of the Month in 2005
of the Month in 2004
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