Last week was a little crazy, what with the radio interview and being sent some really strange music, and not knowing how, tactfully, I could tell the sender that the material wasn’t quite right for the site, then these two albums came through the post. What a relief!
Stars On Broadway is the brainchild of one Dwayne Palmer. Dwayne brought together this fine group of singers, showcasing his writing abilities. I must confess, when I looked at the cover, I was expecting a selection of ‘torch songs’ as the sleevenotes let the purchaser know that a portion of the proceeds go to A.I.D.S. charities. This virus took a friend of mine from our midst a few years back, criminially, as the various treatments now available thesedays would have meant that my friend would still be alive today. His name was Malcolm Clarke. We worked together and he is missed by many of his colleagues.
So what of the music here? Well, if you like the Beverly Glen sound, you will like Dwayne’s writings very much indeed. The singers, vocally are top drawer, with, perhaps, my personal favourite being Capathia Jenkins, although all of the other singers bring to the project a real soulful edge without being too schmaltzy. Favourite tunes? ‘Good Lover’ is a fine dancer, ‘In You’ is a tune that would sit very comfortably alongside any of the Beverly Glen material recorded by Anita Baker or Rosie Gaines. One tune reminds me very much of Billy & Sarah Gaines ‘I Found Someone’, that being ‘Everything In My Life’ ably, and almost Blue Eyed Soulfully, delivered by brother Robert H. Fowler. Really nice album here Dwayne and what a great charity as well. Essential for 2004 (even if the set was recorded in 2001!).
The Braxton Brothers are the acceptable face of ‘smooth jazz’ in my humble opinion. I have seen these guys live and there is no doubting their abilities. In fact, I would say these guys put a great deal of the ‘smooth jazz’ fraternity to shame, ability wise. Smooth Jazz is a weird animal. A few years back it would take the form of a guy playing sax over a pretty little drum beat. Ideal for elevators! LOL. Today it has turned into karaoke, with anyone from Robbie Williams to Rod Stewart covering jazz standards…covering them in what I am not quite sure…but covering them they do! The Braxtons just get on and do their thing and credit to the brothers for doing just that. This album comprises of some crisp instrumentals with vocal contributions from the underrated Jamie Hawkins and an excellent new vocalist called Martin Luther, whose vocals are quite excellent on the tune ‘Love Is Crazy’. A very nice album that deserves to do very well. As for ‘smooth jazz’, well what an awful description for a genre that changed the face of popular music throughout the last century. If you told Miles that he was a ‘smooth jazz artist’, you would soon be picking yourself up off the floor! Enough said. View on SoulWalking