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Soul Express Album of the Month

March 2008

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Nina Vidal
(US Sweet Mimosa CD, 2007)
1) Moving Along (featuring Jean Caze) 2) Lights On 3) Untitled 4) Driving 5) Claim Me 6) No Umbrella 7) River 8) Halfway 9) Do It Again 10) Morning

My definite favourite album of the month is this debut set by Nina Vidal, whose music and style is really a breath of fresh air. She cites artists like Antonio Carlos Jobim, Miles Davis, Anita Baker, Sade and Nina Simone as her sources of influence, and you can easily hear that by listening to Nina's rich mixture of soul and jazz sounds. Nina herself descibred her style in her interview on the Jazz-Not-Jazz site as follows: "My music is for anyone who can relate to it. It's for soul-lovers, folk-lovers, jazz-lovers, and plain old lovers! It's sensuous and warm. It's rich and velvety."

I immediately fell in love with the unforgettable opening track Moving Along, one of the finest gems of 2007. It is based on a mellow acoustic bass line (by Lonnie Plaxico who has played with Al Jarreau, Rachelle Ferrell, Stanley Turrentine, Lonnie Liston Smith, Cassadra Wilson etc.), Nina's own piano playing and Jean Caze's gorgeous flugelhorn soloing. The melody sounds like an instant classic, and the lyrics are as elegant as the overall atmosphere. Timeless masterpiece!

Luckily, it's not the only shining track on display here. The noble, string-laden ballad Driving is very similar in its tone and feel to Moving Along. No Umbrella has an intensive piano backdrop over which Nina delivers her beautiful melody - all songs on the album are self-written by Nina. Claim Me is an intimate, gentle ballad.

Nina's 2005 single Do It Again has been compared to the Naked Music releases like Aquanote, and it indeed has that kind of ethereal feel to it. However, more to my personal taste are again the songs with jazzy real instrumentation, such as the pulsating, bass- and percussion-driven swayer Lights On or the jazzy uptempo mover Untitled, which demonstrates Nina's lively piano playing.

If you want to listen to the sound samples of Nina's CD, just visit her MySpace page at Anyone who admires artists like Gabriela Anders, Janita or Sade will be impressed.
-Ismo Tenkanen
Soul Express, editor

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