Two great albums from singer Sylvia
St James – back to back on a single CD! Magic is a stunning solo set from Sylvia
St James – previously known as a singer in the great group Side Effect – but an even better act on her own! Sylvia
gets lots of great help here from the jazz fusion side of the spectrum – including drummer Lenny White, plus keyboardists Don Blackman and Larry Dunn – the latter from Earth Wine & Fire, the former a soulful powerhouse in his own right! Both Dunn and White produced the record, and the latter gives it the vibe of some of his Twennynine albums – a great blend of jazz and modern soul that really works perfectly for Sylvia
's vocals – and which recalls some of her previous work with Wayne Henderson. Titles include "Can't Make You Mine", "Let Love Groove Me", "So I Say To You", "Magic Minstrel", "Motherland", "Black Diamond", and "Ghetto Lament". Echoes & Images is an album that's got a richer soul feel than some of Sylvia
St James' previous work – and a record that really has the singer coming into her own, with a setting that's out to rival the bigger mainstream soul divas of the time! Richard Evans and McKinley Jackson handle the arrangements – and bring all their rich experience in modern soul to play – creating these full charts that push Sylvia
's vocals forward strongly, yet still with lots of hip touches that avoid some of the more commercial chart soul cliches of the time. The arrangements have really kept the record fresh over the years – as has the lesser-known status of St James' as a singer – and titles include "Prime Time", "Behind My Back", "If You Let Me Love You", "The Bottom Line", and "Eastern Man".