This is Brazilian singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist Ed Motta‘s 12th album, produced by Kamau Kenyatta (producer for Gregory Porter and an upcoming project by Detroit singer Kathy Kosins) in Los Angeles. The similarity to both Donald Fagen and Frank McComb, especially in the opening midtempo, swaying track “Captain’s Refusal”, is enormous.
Ed and Kamau came up with a stellar list of musicians on this well-rounded set: Hubert Laws plays a beautiful flute solo on the lovely ballad “Forgotten Nickname”, Patrice Rushen is featured on acoustic piano as well as on Rhodes and clavinet, as is Greg Phillinganes (very cute clavinet playing on the first track). The horns are by Rickey Woodard (tenor sax) and Curtis Taylor (trumpet).
Ed’s intricate, intelligent songwriting and composing is probably best exemplified in the jazzed-up “The Owner” with brilliant piano work and a rousing trumpet solo. The horns play this cathy melody line, only briefly, and Ed singing more in a staccato vein. The mood on “Hypochondriac’s Fun” resembles that of Stevie Wonder’s “Music Of My Mind” LP from 1972, and not only because of Patrice’s clavinet playing, but also because of Ed’s amazingly soulful vocals. What I don’t like, especiall on the otherwise fancy “Gossip”, is that Ed’s voice is mixed so much into the foreground that he comes across as an extremely yelling and screaming singer.
The production though is raw and crisp throughout. I can also hear some 70s Andy Bey on “A Town In Flames” with yet another intoxicating horn arrangement and hard-driving drums by Marvin “Smitty” Smith. And there is some Mark Murphy vocalism on “I Remember Julie”, a pretty quirky and unusual tune with some hilarious lyrics: “She now has been “digging” some vinyl/And how are “indies” gonna rate it?”. The bass line by Tony Dumas on the album closer “Overblown Overweight” is fascinating (there is also Cecil McBee on bass on other tracks), as well as Ed’s witty lyrics: “Your mobile sounds make me sick/Any time and everywhere you go/Don’t you hear that?/The new word in town is Overblown and Overweight”. And Charles Owens is reflecting this in his wailing, almost denunciating tenor sax solo. And I want more of that Rhodes from Patrice, please!
A great, highly energized soul/jazz album which Ed is touring soon:
03/16 Neubrandenburg, Jazzfrühling
03/19 Kassel, Jazzfrühling
04/29 Wolfsburg, Movimentos Festwochen
05/06 Berlin, XJazz Festival (BiNuu)
05/07 Karlsruhe, Tollhaus
05/08 Basel, Kaserne
05/10 Zurich, Kaufleuten