When in 2009 I reviewed ‘On The Level’ from flautist Jef Kearns I described it as dispelling the myth that flute players can’t do urban jazz. In fact it was a hip, up to the minute, collection that oozed class and consequently it is pleasing to report that Jef is back with the equally good ‘Soulfisticated’. In fact it finds Kearns displaying a whole new musical maturity that is evidenced by the sophistication of the production, the selection of guest vocalists and, above all, the quality of the eleven songs that he either writes or co-writes.
example the opening ‘No One Like You’
for which Dynesti’s ‘in your face’ rap dovetails nicely with a catchy hook that
comes courtesy of Kearn’s cool playing, or the very different (but very attractive)
‘Back Again’ which features picture
perfect vocals from Karen Jewels and is the sort of jazz pop crossover number
that might well lead Jef to a whole new audience.
(instrumental) title cut achieves the knack of being beautiful and compelling in
similar measure while these same traits populate the spine tingling ‘Breathe’ where vocals are in the capable
hands of Lisa Michelle.
A well as
having a hypnotic quality and a streetwise attitude as their common
denominators, both ‘Electrified’ and
‘Strange Predictions’ are great
examples of the fresh new music that Kearns routinely delivers and elsewhere ‘Get Down’ is the kind of easy grooving
jazz flute number that we have come to expect from Kearns.
same can be said of ‘Don’t Make Me Wait’
which in its latter stages takes on a decidedly tender tone whilst just as
agreeable is the neo soul vibe of ‘Make
It Real for Me’ that owes much to the dual input of Maya Killtron and
Slakah the Beatchild. Slakah, who, like Kearns, is based in Toronto and boasts an impressive track-record as a producer, also
contributes to the up tempo ‘Saturday’s
End’ that Kearns’ uses to close out the album yet, in terms of personal favourites,
the soulful ‘Through The Rain’, complete
with wonderful vocals from Aria Zenua, is extremely hard to beat.
For more go to www.jefkearns.com