Vanessa Freeman —
Shades ... CD Chilli Funk (UK), 2004. Used ....
One of the strongest albums to come out of the London scene in years – and a stunning debut from vocalist Vanessa Freeman! Vanessa's vocals have been bubbling out of some great singles in recent years, but here she steps forth as a major talent with a fully-formed set – produced in collaboration with the great Phil Asher, and grooving in a very solid Restless Soul mode! The record's got a much more solid soul-based approach than some of the other recent sets on Chilifunk – as Vanessa's firmly in control of each tune, guiding them with her massively soulful vocals – some of the best we've heard since Carleen Anderson's early work with the Young Disciples! The set also features lots of keyboards by Mark De Clive-Lowe and Kaidi Tatham – and titles include "Shades", "Dawning Of A New Day", "Hang Tight", "Cover Me", "Life Line", "Who Are You", and "Fresh & Wild". CD
A classic bit of London funky guitar from Ronny Jordan – the heir apparent to Grant Green and Ivan Boogaloo Joe Jones – and one of the best new players of his generation! The set takes the older funky guitar styles of the 60s soul jazz generation, and fuses it with a 90s nujazz approach – to come up with some tight groovers that have a surprisingly classic feel, yet which also sparkle with the fresher sounds of the time – some of the hip rhythms that were bubbling around in London during the Talking Loud and early Acid Jazz years. Titles include a great remake of "So What", the jazz/hip hop classic "Get To Grips", and the cuts "Cool & Funky", "Summer Smile", "Show Me", "Nite Spice", and "After Hours". CD
A monumental piece of funk – and a record that came into the world at a time when it seemed like just about everyone had forgotten how to play real funky music! This set's the US version of the first album by London scenesters The Brand New Heavies – and although it came out in the states 2 years after the UK set, it's essentially the same record – just featuring new vocals by singer N'Dea Davenport in place of the original vocalist Jay Ella Ruth. Davenport's vocals transported the group from indie acid jazz obscurity into the US soul charts in a way that nobody ever expected – and the resulting album is a stone classic that's filled with excellent cuts like "Ride In The Sky", "Never Stop", "Dream Come True", and "Stay This Way". Great stuff all around – and one of the few classic soul albums of its generation! CD