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Soul Express CD of the Month - September-October 2009

Makeda: Escape from Egypt

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Escape from Egypt
US Just Makeda CD, 2009
1) Intro 0:37 2) Whispers in the Wind 5:49 3) I Wish 4:45 4) The Childhood Game 4:50 5) Forever 4:34 6) The Dayz 4:52 7) Son of Man 5:32 8) I've Changed 4:59 9) The Lily 5:36 10) Free 5:57 11) Moonlight 4:34 12) My Life 4:50

Makeda has earlier recorded under the name Tiffany Laing, and her previous album The Return was already rated high on our own Serious Soul Chart. According to the press release, Makeda has been performing with such artists such as Earth, Wind and Fire, Eric Benet, Sheila E. and presently she can be seen touring the world with Teena Marie."

The first thing that attracted me on Makeda's latest project Escape from Egypt were the professional sounds and jazzy instrumentation featuring lots of saxophone (Ron Brown, Bobby English), trumpet (Impromp2 member Johnny Britt and Will Artope) and real drums (Rayford Griffin). It's a rare treat indeed these days to hear such splendid instrumentation on an indie proejct, and when Makeda impressed me as a vocalist already on her previous two albums, here we have a self-evident pick for the Soul Express album of the month.

If you need more convincing take a listen to the YouTube link below, demonstrating Makeda's more than mature reading of the jazz standard You've Changed - now entitled I've Changed. It reminds me of Miki Howard's 1988 interpretation of the song, and is really one of the most arresting performances I've heard all year.

It is followed by an equally impressive slice of jazzy soul, Makeda's self-written song The Lily. The tracks that feature Impromp2's Johnny Britt, The Childhood Game, The Dayz and Moonlight, all have Impromp2-like stylish jazz-funk backdrops with meaty bass, real drums and keyboard lines, crowned by Britt's own trumpet playing. Alhtough most of the tracks are ballads, there are also a couple of tasty mid-pacers, such as the strong closing song My Life or the bouncy I Wish. Free is a sax-laced cover of the Deniece Williams classic.

There are no weak links on this highly consistent 12-track set. I'm already looking forward for Makeda's next project!
- Ismo Tenkanen
Soul Express

Soul Express Video Pick from YouTube

Makeda: I've Changed

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