Gemini Soul – Dark Skin Babies: The Movement

Gemini Soul – Dark Skin Babies: The Movement


characteristic of jazz music that most people should agree on – it’s a
phenomenon that continues to be played on radio stations across the world,
even if not to the extent of pop, R&B, or country.  For
those who are honored to play this art form dating back to the early
twentieth century circa 1900, it requires lots of emotion and
creativity in stirring up excitement to their listening audiences.   The
more commercially successfully smooth jazz format slowly crept into
prominence in the seventies, yet has started to diminish lately
partially due to losing their identity in their formats (i.e. inserting
R&B performers like Janet & Beyonce).  Then there is cyber jazz.  Say what?  As
best described by Gemini Soul’s founder Andre Marcel Ajuma Akinyele,
cyber jazz invites all generations and all ethnic backgrounds to “jazz
of all genres.”  These ingredients were all
inspired by his love of musicians who took jazz fusion movement on a
wonderful ride starting in the seventies:  Herbie
Hancock, Stanley Clarke, and Miles Davis, before Najee, Paul Hardcastle
and Kenny G lent their smoother R&B accents into their jazz
improvisations.   He also emphasizes fellow bass
guitarist Meshell Ndegeocello’s daring approach to musicianship that
fuels his musical work ethics. When he first recorded under as Marcel,
much of his material bled the stylings of Prince – another musical hero
and an absolute legendary funkmeister and innovator himself.  As
Akinyele stepped out of the Marcel portion of his career, he changed
names and musical direction for his solo cyber jazz contributions Black
Magic: The Cyper Jazz Experience and Supernova before joining with
keyboardist Jon O’Bergh to form Gemini Soul in 2003.  Two of their discs thus far – Liquid Soul & Nefertiti Experience
– featured various arrays of jazz including Clarke’s “Yesterday’s
Princess,” “Take Five” – the Dave Brubeck masterpiece; and Les McCann
& Eddie Harris’ “Compared To What?”

Now with percussionist Andrew Foster and drummer Alex Marks in the GS lineup, their latest effort, Dark Skin Babies: The Movement
takes their ambitious jazz journey into more social commentary, musical
twists and turns, and new renditions from those musical groundbreakers
that touch their musical soul.   Within the twenty tracks, a few highlights caught my special attention.  Subject
matter such as treatment of minorities and the black versus black
mentality (“There’s No Money In Jazz” and “Dueling of the Tribes”
respectively) are illustrated with heavy hitting lyrics and spoken word.  “Android Slavery” meshes roots Reggae with GS’s funk backbeats.  In
respect to their peers, they revisit “Chameleon”- the fusion classic by
Hancock; Ndegeocello’s Afro-Cuban avant guard composition – “Al-Falaq
113,” and a slightly tweaked “All The Critics Love You” (the B side of
“Little Red Corvette” from 1982) adding a shout-out for cyber jazz.  The
track, though, that exposes GS’s strongest creative juices is “Finger
Print.” This spotlight on guest saxophonist Waahid Jones is a model
exercise in fluid jazz expressions; smooth jazz oozing into a brief
Carribean passage before busting out with shades of John Coltrane
wrapping up with an engaging Latin finale.  


absolute strength of this two-disc set is the firm cohesion and a firm
respect between the four members; plus some tight horns from Jones.  Akinyele happens to mention in several radio interviews that he wants his audience to also get up and dance.  Certainly not meant to put that theory down or to dismiss the cyber jazz notion, but GS should relax their funk tendencies on Dark Skin Babies: The Movement
every once in awhile, because this band is more than a dance floor
sensation that blends keen jazz sensibility on the aforementioned
tracks.  Being the workaholic that Akinyele is
(GS has released at least one disc every year since its debut in 2005),
they should have more music and plenty of passion in their tank to
stretch their jazz muscles for many years to come.


Peggy Oliver

The Urban Music Scene

Listen to song samples from the “Dark Skin Babies: The Movement” album on our Jazz Page, exclusively from amazon, by clicking here!!

MORE Music Reviews on T.U.M.S.!:

Lalah Hathaway's Starry Starry Homecoming Night in L.A.
L.A.'s RnB Live Club; Serving up "A Night to Remember" Every Wednesday of the Week."
Andrea Helms | Moving Forward
Robert Glasper Experiment | Black Radio
Rhythm Will Be Queen at The 34th Annual Playboy Jazz Festival
The Angela Bofill Experience f/ Maysa | at Anthology in San Diego, Nov. 5th
Eric Clapton & Wynton Marsalis, Play the Blues: Live from Jazz At Lincoln Center
Richard Elliot | In The Zone
Judith Christie McAllister | Sound the Trumpet
Concert Review: Return to Forever IV/Zappa Plays Zappa
Hidden Beach Presents "The Original Jill Scott - From The Vault Vol. 1"
Deitrick Haddon | Anthology: The Writer & His Music
Joss Stone | LP1
Trombone Shorty | For True
Global Noize | A Prayer for the Planet
Medicine – Live at The Black Academy of Arts & Letters
Lorenzo Johnson | Things Are Looking Up
LaTina Webb | Hush
The Jade Element
Al Green | The Best of the Gospel Sessions
Reggie Young | Steppin’ Up
Gail Holmes | I Receive Your Love
Kindred the Family Soul | Love Has No Recession
Jill Scott | The Light Of The Sun
Beyoncé | 4
Patsy Moore | Expatriates
Pat Metheny | What's It All About
Alicia Keys | songs in A minor: 10th Anniversary Collector’s Edition
Ledisi | Pieces of Me
Our Review of The 33rd Anniversary Playboy Jazz Festival
Michael Franks | Time Together
Soul Togetherness Presents The Skip Scarborough Songbook | Various Artists
Monday Michiru | Don't Disturb This Groove
"An Evening With Dave Grusin" (DVD-Blu-ray Disc)
Raphael Saadiq | Stone Rollin'
Dennis Coffey | Dennis Coffey