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May 2011

Raphael Saadiq | Stone Rollin’

Album Review: Raphael Saadiq | Stone Rollin’

by Susan Mutahria

Dear Raphael Saadiq a.k.a ‘Ray Ray’,


You are giving me a heart attack and I want you back because I can’t get enough of your new album Stone Rollin’. Here is the situation. Ever since the album rolled out on May 10th,
I have had you on replay. I find myself looking for love from other
albums but then I figure out they are not you. You keep ‘old school’ so
steamy. You’re a good man, all cards on the table, music so good got me
dancing on the table. Stone Rollin’ is not enough for me, so all I ask of you is to go back to the studio and keep on working.”


Your huge fan,



Those who have not listened to the new album just branded me crazy. Others who know me well enough just branded me crazy then proceeded to buy the album. Either way you are all right because I am crazy about this album and the musical genius of Raphael Saadiq. To continue, please click “MORE”!

Tony Exum, Jr. | Finally!

Tony Exum - Finally!
Tony Exum, Jr., Finally!
by Brent Faulkner
Saxophonist Tony Exum Jr.’s recent effort Finally! is a fine addition to a somewhat crowded smooth jazz genre. With enough crossover appeal to court with urban music fans given its R&B under- and overtones, Finally! definitely possesses something for everybody. It is a hefty task to differentiate smooth jazz oft times, but Exum makes an album that is enjoyable despite any restriction with the genre itself.

Alphonse Mouzon | Angel Face

Alphonse Mouzon - Angel Face
Angel Face
Alphonse Mouzon
by A. Scott Galloway
In a musical universe obsessed with guitars and saxes, it’s sometimes a challenge for a drummer to get a little respect. Alphonse Mouzon has gotten his as much for his playing as for his acumen as a renegade independent record label owner (Tenacious Records), the original drummer of fusion pioneers Weather Report and for a four decade string of eclectic jazz recordings as a leader that swing from inside to outside and all the spaces in between (not to mention his colorful fashion sense).

Dennis Coffey | Dennis Coffey

Dennis Coffey | Dennis Coffey
by A. Scott Galloway

Guitarist Dennis Coffey was the ace on the case when Norman Whitfield slipped some psychedelic into Motown’s soul bag on game-changing sides by The Temptations starting with “Cloud Nine” on up through “I Can’t Get Next to You,” “Ball of Confusion” and just about all of, naturally, the Psychedelic Shack Lp. He made a giant platform-shoed step from the shadows of Motown with the instrumental smash “Scorpio,” credited to  Dennis Coffey and the Detroit Guitar Band, eternally linked to the mid-way portion of `70s “Soul Train” episodes and featuring a ferocious bass breakdown by Bob Babbitt. Dennis then recorded eight wah-wah-fied soul-rock albums as well as the score to Kung Fu fightin’ Jim Kelly’s first starring vehicle “Black Belt Jones.” Now following a pair of sleepy smooth jazz affairs in the `80s, Mr. Coffey returns with his first disc in 22 years doing a funky flashback sure to be met with approving head nods from crate diggers with his self-titled Dennis Coffey (available as a CD and double-vinyl Lp). Retro on every level, even the cover is a throwback to his 1973 Sussex Lp, Electric Coffey. To continue, please click “MORE”!

Mateo | Love & Stadiums

Album Review: Mateo | Love & Stadiums
By Susan Mutharia

I liked his voice when I first heard him sing Til She Goes.  I developed a crush on his voice when I heard him sing Complicated. I knew it was love when I heard him sing Don’t Shoot Me Down featuring Goapele & Ab Liva.  After the release mixtape Love and Stadiums, I affirmed my deeply rooted love and appreciation for the music of the incredible new voice of Mateo.

Mateo to me represents the power and effect of social networking. I first learnt of his work after reading a tweet from the actor and author Hill Harper. As much as I love and appreciate music, I must confess that at first I checked him out because I thought he is hot. Then I heard him sing and thought, “…wow, he can sing too.”  Later, I came to learn that Hill Harper was indirectly responsible for getting Mateo signed to his former label MySpace records. To continue, please click “MORE”!

Deirdre Gaddis | Life in The Key of Dei

Album Review: Deirdre Gaddis – Life in The Key of Dei

By Peggy Oliver
has been proven through the dawn of time that music in any shape and
form can be that great yet reasonable escape; whether for the listener
or the songwriter.   Deirdre Gaddis knows how to share her dark and
victorious times through the gift of songwriting and she is not afraid
to use it. The Birmingham, Alabama born vocalist began her expressing
herself in song at age eight. And her life has been quite a roller
coaster ride. But Gaddis is fully able to mold those experiences into a
soulful, spiritual quest that empowers and encourages. Her debut from
the very busy folks at 111 East Records, Life in The Key of Dei,
is a no-nonsense handbook on love lost, stalled and found. The team of
Brian ‘B-Flat Trax’ Cook and Will aka Slick and Dboi from creates picturesque silky jazz/R&B grooves to match Gaddis’ gospel-like and soulful intensity. To continue, please click “MORE”!

Musiq Soulchild | Musiqinthemagic

Album Review: Musiq Soulchild | Musiqinthemagic
by Brent Faulkner

After nearly a three year hiatus since the fall 2008 release of
Onmyradio, Musiq Soulchild returns in top form on his under-the-radar
2011 Atlantic release Musiqinthemagic. On Musiqinthemagic, the formula
is mostly unchanged for the most part, though Musiq ‘amps’ up the
‘soul-factor’ on this album more pointedly than his last go-around which
was the talented vocalist’s least successful (undeservedly) effort.
Regardless of commercial expectations, aspirations, or successes, as
always, the quality of Musiq’s sixth LP speaks for itself.

There are no misses and as always, consistency plays a major role in Musiq’s music. To continue, please click “MORE”!

Aretha Franklin | A Woman Falling Out Of Love

Aretha Franklin - A Woman Falling Out Of Love
Aretha Franklin
A Woman Falling Out of Love
(Aretha’s Records)
by A. Scott Galloway
For every longstanding fan that has been waiting for The Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin to turn back the hands of time and deliver an album of goose bump-raising performances, this is the answer to every little prayer you’ve said. Talk about inspired. Sister Franklin has been clandestinely finessing this 12-song labor of love for many years, producing much of it herself and giving every component two bosoms worth of tender loving care.

Kelly Price | Kelly

Kelly Price - Kelly
Kelly Price | Kelly
by Brent Faulkner
It is not unusual for artists who are namely R&B/soul artists to venture into the world of gospel. Oft times, the ‘change of pace’ is only for a season, with the occasional gospel release interspersed between R&B releases. Al Green and Aretha Franklin, both of whom have released gospel albums, for example, returned to their R&B ‘stomping ground.’

Kim Burrell | The Love Album

Kim Burrell - The Love Album
Album Review: Kim Burrell | The Love Album
By Peggy Oliver
When Kim Burrell was introduced to the gospel world on Everlasting Love in 1998, the anticipation was justified; from her fellow peers to being rewarded with the prestigious Stellar Award for urban gospel excellence. Many musicians were awed by her rich husky voice dropped an array of gorgeous colors with stunning timing and total ease.