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Soul Express CD review


Jump Start 2

UK Soul Unsigned Records CD, 2011

1) Seductive Souls - Is this love 2) Dr. Rubberfunk - Northern comfort (Slynk remix) 3) Gizelle Smith - June 4) Diesler - Samba magic 5) The Jazzinvaders - Make it work 6) Tape Five - Birds like it 7) Milano Jazz Dance Combo - Goodbye 8) Renegades Of Jazz - Karabine 9) Soopasoul - Brand nu 10) Martin Denev - Somethin real 11) Monday Michiru - Weak (Jephte Guillame vokal mix) 12) Inaya Day & Ralf GUM - Lose my worries 13) DJ KAWASAKI - It makes me feel like dancin' 14) Papik - Staying for good (Guido Nemola Classic mix)

I just noticed that this CD has spent several weeks on the number one slot of Solar Radio's (and Echoes magazine's) Sweet Rhythm Chart. Obviously there's a lot of request for this kind of club oriented stuff then! The CD has been compiled by Ginger Tony and Dr. Bob Jones has written the liner notes, and thus the album represents the eclectic mixture of electronic beats, jazz, soul and house music that these DJ's play on clubs and their radio shows.

I have to confess that much of the content on the album has too much focus on electronic beats to my personal taste, as I prefer even my club music played with real musicians. Having said that, I still found myself nodding my head along with several tunes on this 14 track collection.

The Contemporary Soul Songbook series has already presented Papik, a great nu-jazz project lead by Roman produced Nerio Poggi, and they are featured here, too with a remix of the track Stayng for Good. This also reflects the whole concept here; while the original album was a stylish Bossa Nova influenced soul-jazz set, this remixed track is set more in a house-oriented club groove.

My favourite track on the compilation is the opening tune Is This Love by Seductive Souls (also featured earlier on the Contemporary Soul Songbook series), taken from their album Spirit. Although this track is also a club-oriented groover, it's very soulful too with Jamaican poet and songwriter Michael Arkk adding the tasteful vocals, and the catchy synth groove is not far from Cool Million's best tunes - this is also produced by Rob Hardt, the mastermind behind Cool Million.

In the liner notes, Northern Comfort is described as a "killer piece of Southern Soul", which I don't think our deep soul specialst Heikki Suosalo would agree with. However, it's actually a nice smooth UK soul track in a sophisticated dance groove. In a similar way, Gizelle Smith's (on the pic right) track June does not really sound raw and funky, as descibred in the liner notes, but it's a decent enough dance groove with a touch of horns and Gizelle's powerful vocals. Did you know that a Finnish label from Turku (!) has released 7" singles by Gizelle and the Mighty Mocambos! Well, I didn't either, before I started googling her name, but now I know!

After these dance grooves with some soulful touch, we are then offered a string of more electronic dance groovers, with only a pinch of soul or jazz here and there. Described sometimes as "electro-swing" or "soulful house" or "disco-house" in the liner notes - which reveals that it's really impossible to categorize this kind of club music, but frankly it's not my cup of tea. Maybe I'm simply 30 years too old for the target group of this album! -IT

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