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The Soul Express Album of the Month

May 2000

MODERN TRIBE Groove On (UK Expansion)
1) Reach the Top 2) Groove On 3) Keep On Walking 4) So Good To Have Someone 5) Someday 6) Misunderstood 7) I Never Told You 8) It's Your Love 9) Kissing You (Intro) 10) Kissing You 11) By the Sea 12) Groove On (Remix)
Produced by Charles Scales (co-produced by Gwendolyn Scales)
The best album of 1999 was provided by this Detroit-based jazz-soul group led by the husband and wife duo of Charles and Gwen Scales, responsible for keyboards and vocals, respectively. Other members include percussionist Melvin Maxwell and saxophonist Ray Manzerolle, a name familiar to me from Gene Dunlap Band. Some of you may also be aware of Charles and Gwen through their critically acclaimed indie single Inside My Love from 1988. The trumpet-infused groover Reach the Top opens the album in a superb fashion, but is overshadowed by the compelling title track, a piece of J. Spencer / Impromp2 type of hip hop jazz with some genuinely exciting piano work by Charles. The remix transforms the track into a moody funker reminiscent of Tom Browne's Hip Bop material. Jazz influences are highlighted on the captivating mid-tempo stepper Misunderstood, spiced with nice guitar and vibes solos, and the superlative finger-snapper I Never Told You which Gwen handles extremely well.
In addition to these jazz-funk gems, we are treated to a quartet of excellent soul ballads. These include the slow and sensuous Keep On Walking and the smouldering It's Your Love, both of which remind me of Khani Cole at her finest. Even better are the uplifting mid-tempo ballad So Good to Have Someone, earlier recorded by Johnny Bristol, and the swaying Someday, which has traces of another legendary Detroit group, Chapter 8. Needless to say, the arrangements make good use of saxophone and piano. The remaining two cuts are Kissing You, a smooth instrumental version of Keith Washington's breakthrough hit, and By the Sea, a summery jam with lots of saxophone and acoustic guitar. One not to be missed by any self-respecting soul fan. (9) -Kimmo Heikkinen

The Review from Soul Express 1/2000.

Albums of the Month in 1999
Albums of the Month in 1998
Albums of the Month in 1997

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