They did it again. Another brilliant collection of modern soul meets house meets funk meets groove from Reel People Records. Gospel queen Kim Burrell opens this superb compilation with a housey track from her 2015 album “A Different Place” to be followed by one of my personal highlights of the set: “Something”, a relaxing, fantastically flowing midtempo gem, is from Phonte & Eric Roberson‘s new joint collaboration called “Tigallerro”. A masterpiece.
The sweet and seductive voice of Portia Monique is featured here with a track from her 2014 album. “Smile” goes back to those glory days of early 80s soul with some extremely intoxicating backing vocals and a groove to die for. We also get a track that I’ve reviewed here earlier: the still beautiful and sexy glide of “Unconditional Love” by Greg Dean feat. Chantae Cann and Jarrod Lawson. It’s always a great pleasure to hear Jarrod’s soothing and caressing voice.
Off to the next highlight: Grammy nominated musician, producer, and recording artist Brandon Williams from Detroit is featured with a track from his fantastic XII album (2014) which boasted tracks with Robert Glasper, Don Blackman, Jean Baylor, Nicholas Payton, and Frank McComb. The track featured here is the jazzy soul-groover “Make Believe” with Deborah Bond and Bamm Davis. Truly amazing with a Stevie Wonder-like (circa 1972), spherical ending.
There is a lot of Marvin Gaye and Donny Hathaway on the sweet and soulful “Over The Sun” by Dilouya featuring Omar (from the 2012 album “Dilouya’s Faithful Circus”). Another exquisite groove track. And highly recommended. Louie Vega is added here with a track from his groundbreaking, five-star album “Starring…XXVIII” which has Lisa Fischer, Audrey Wheeler, Kenny Bobien, Jocelyn Brown, and Zara McFarlane, the latter of which can be heard on the MAW-like “Because We Love It” with Cindy Mizelle on background vocals. On inimitable, mesmerizing background vocals I might add.
The soothing, haunting, and blissful “Talk To Me” is next – Jordan Rakei‘s addition from his “Cloak” album is a welcome change of pace and style, but still with the perfect dose of jazz and soul. Much too short though. “Lifelines” is a track from Detroit-based Zo!‘s album “SkyBreak”. The musical director of The Foreign Exchange has guest rapper Dornik on this one, a truly masterful and flowing piece which has some harmony vocal parts which could have been recorded on MJ’s “Thriller” session.
Speaking of The Foreign Exchange, a track from the 2015 album “Tales From The Land Of Milk And Honey” is added here, the equally soul-drenched and pumping “Body”. Some serious 80s funk a la The Gap Band meets George Clinton is Amp Fiddler‘s “Slippin’ On Ya Pimpin'” from Amp’s “Motor City Booty” album with Dames Brown featured on this particular track. More 80s keyboard sounds come from Dutch duo Kraak & Smaak on “Alone With You” from their “Juicy Fruit” album. Great stuff.
We also get a Louie Vega mix of one of Tony Momrelle‘s latest cuts, “All The Things You Are”, and a stylish, housey remake of The Sounds Of Blackness’ “Optimistic” (remember this?) by Zepherin Saint with SOB singer Ann Nesby which doesn’t come close to the original’s still magical appeal. A superb compilation with some new discoveries. Extremely recommended!