This is going back to the good old days when a new LP was always a major attraction, especially in the case of Gatefold LPs. Credits and lyrics printed on two pages, instantly making it a premium product. And the content correlates. UK-based singer Myles Sanko, who was born in Ghana before moving to Cambridge, has just released his fourth album “Memories Of Love” after “Forever Dreaming” (2014), “Born In Black & White” (2015), and “Just Being Me” (2016). He already played North Sea Jazz (now postponed for the second year in a row), Elbjazz Festival and Rheingau Musik Festival.
Yes I know there are the obvious comparisons to Gregory Porter and it’s true that song design, some parts of his voice, and the overall production are similar to what Gregory is doing. But this is far from just being a cheap imitation. Here’s an artist in his own right, with uplifting lyrics (“Rainbow In Your Cloud”), but also not so uplifting, but rather more melancholic and deeply personal (“Never My Friend”), jazzy undertones, especially with piano and sax work courtesy of Tom O’Grady (co-composer on many of the tracks) and Gareth Lumbers, respectively.
It’s the combination of Myles’ rich and all-encompassing voice and the soulful compositions, which make this album a thoroughly satisfying work. The mostly acoustic-induced tracks (with little synth, electric bass and guitar thrown in here and there), are just little steps away from being little masterpieces. “In The Morning” is simply sublime. Probably the tune which has the most Gregory moments is the soulful ballad “Streams Of Time” where Myles really sounds a lot like GP. The tune later turns into a brassy Gospel-like trance towards the end, with superb backing vocals by Jaelee Small, Chantal Brown, and Chris Moncrief.
I really dig “Who To Call”, an irresistible soul-jazz piece with great guitar, trumpet, and string work, which really comes across as this precious little diamond. No filler tracks can be found on this 10-piece set which closes with a wonderfully melancholic, bittersweet “Blackbird Sing”, with the majestic voice of Myles somehow guaranteeing that everything will turn out fine.